Big data from social media and scientific literature databases

reveals relationships among risk management, project management and project success



By Maria Papadaki2, Nikolaos Bakas4, Edward Ochieng2, Ioannis Karamitsos3 and Richard Kirkham1

1Univerity of Manchester, UK. 2British University in Dubai, UAE. 3Rochester Institute Technology, Dubai, UAE.  4School of Architecture, Engineering, Land and Environmental Sciences, Neapolis University Pafos, Paphos, Cyprus

Corresponding author: Maria Papadaki (maria.papadaki@buid.ac.ae)




The literature review highlights that previous studies have been identifying risk management as an essential tool for project management and could increase the chance of successfully meeting project objectives. In addition, as found from the reviewed literature, risk management has been seen as a tool of allowing the project team to communicate risk information, so as to enhance the decision-making process towards balancing threats and opportunities. Thus, this research aims to examine participants’ views on the alignment of risk management, project management and organizational project success. Machine learning algorithms are employed to explore collective data from posts on twitter in order to obtain valuable knowledge about discussions regarding risk management, and project management. Additionally, the corresponding scientific literature obtained from Scopus database was analyzed utilizing bibliometric tools, in order to investigate diverse perceptions in academia and industry. Findings of this study will have implications for practitioners’ perception of project risk management.

Keywords: Risk management, Project success, Decision making, Project management, Machine Learning, Big Data, Bibliometrics


  1. Introduction

In this work, we investigated significant concepts surrounding the project management (PM) and risk management (RM), the related concepts, as well as whether any relationship among them exist in academia or professional practice. Increasing the understanding of the relation between project management, risk management and people perception will lead us to gain knowledge about the use of the risk data regarding the decision making process.  This will contribute on building project risk aware culture.  Shi in [1] argues that proper implementation of project management, creates added value holistically to an organisation, both in strategic and operation level. In other words, effective risk management must be defined broadly in order to avoid strategic failures, that may lead operational ones. In addition, Drew et al [2] introduce five integrated elements that underpin a firm’s ability to manage risks, engage in effective corporate governance, and implement new regulatory changes: Culture, Leadership, Alignment, Systems, and Structure. Benjamin Franklin in 1748 when offering advice to a young tradesman; said “Remember that time is money”. The definition of this statement is very pragmatic; any delay to project execution by unexpected or unpredictable factors makes cost increase, thereby directly affecting one another.

Risk is a subjective concept, highly related to people’s perception, and many times extremely rare phenomenon occur, which cannot be quantified by statistics or forecasting methods [3].  This may be an outcome of tradition, attitude, and perception. People have a different behavior to the way that they perform risk management; some of them do it more than others or others do not do it at all, because is seen as unnecessary overhead [4]. Hence, human perception in the execution of the risk management process plays a vital role in the successful deployment of the process.

It is essential that decisions taken in a project take account of the level of risk in the project. Therefore, risk management plays a vital role throughout decision making process. Project managers and all the parties that are affected by risks have to be fully aware of the risk and their impacts on the project objectives.  A primary characteristic of a decision according to Charette [5] is that “a decision process must be visible, repeatable, and measurable”. In the decision process, project members have to make decisions with consideration of risk in a daily basis. Therefore, Risk management and more generally risks have to be a part of daily thinking and know-how. It is like a culture; project members have to be fully aware of risk and the consequences positive or negative and be able to manage or mitigate them in the most efficient way.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 6th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2019.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Papadaki, M., Bakas, N., Ochieng, E., Karamitsos, I., Kirkham, R. (2019). Big data from social media and scientific literature databases reveals relationships among risk management, project management and project success; presented at the 6th Annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium, College Park, Maryland, USA in May 2019; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/pmwj85-Sep2019-Papadaki-et-al-big-data-reveals-relationships.pdf



About the Authors

Dr Maria Papadaki

United Kingdom




Dr Maria Papadaki obtained her first degree in Business Economics from Salford University. Part of her undergraduate study was carried out in IPAG University in Nice (France). Maria completed her MSc in Management of Projects from The University of Manchester (UoM) in 2005. As an internship, Maria undertook an economic study into the viability of establishing Formula 1 racing in Crete. In 2006, she joined the UoM PhD programme and also worked as a research associate and teaching assistant for the school of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE). In 2008, she conducted an internship with the Risk Function in Rolls-Royce plc.. In 2009 was appointed as an Enterprise Risk Management Professional at Rolls-Royce’s. In 2011 she joined Rolls-Royce plc. Supply Chain Function as a Risk Manager in order to work cross functionally and across all Rolls-Royce plc sectors (Civil, Defense, Energy, Nuclear and Marine) to design, develop and implement integrated and standardised tools and processes to enable the business to proactively identify, manage and mitigate delivery risks across the global supply chain. In 2013, she completed her doctoral studies in the field of risk from The University of Manchester.

In 2013, Dr Maria Papadaki was seconded as an Interim Head of Risk, leading the risk management for the UK Nuclear Restoration (UKNR), a joint venture between AMEC, Atkins and Rolls-Royce plc bidding for the largest nuclear decommissioning project in UK. In 2014, Maria initiated the idea and led the development of the first innovation Hub (H2B) in Crete, Greece on behalf of the Heraklion Chamber of Commerce. In 2015 Dr Papadaki joined the University of Manchester working as a Senior Relationship Manager for the British University in Dubai and the UK Alliance Universities and also acted as the Head of the Programme Management office and the DCRI (Dubai Centre for Risk and Innovation). She is now working as the Managing Director for the DCRI and an Assistant Professor for BUiD. Under this profile, she has been leading the development of digital certificates for BUiD’s graduates which made the university 1st in the Middle East and 3rd in the world implementing Blockchain technology in education. Her research and work are now focused on Innovation, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Enterprise Risk Management and Cyber Security. Finally, in 2018 she was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Institute of Risk Management (irm) in London. Under this profile she is leading the global education and training standards strategy for the institute (irm). Dr Maria Papadaki is a visiting lecturer in The University of Manchester and her research is now focused on innovation, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Enterprise Risk Management. Maria Papadaki can be contacted at maria.papadaki@buid.ac.ae



Dr Nikolaos Bakas

Cyprus and Greece




Dr. Nikolaos Bakas is currently a Lecturer in Computational Mechanics at Neapolis University Pafos; External Collaborator of National Technical University of Athens, Director of NOESYS Consulting and External Associate at AXIA Chartered Surveyors. Dr. Bakas’ work concerns developing numerical methods and applying machine learning algorithms, in a variety of thematic areas in research and industry, for data analysis, predictive modeling, numerical optimization, quantitative insights, clustering and analysis of literature. In his recent monograph in Research, a Science Partner Journal, he provided a generic numerical solution for the hopelessly ill-conditioned mathematical problem of extrapolation, with prediction horizons 1000% higher than the existing methods in the scientific literature. He has been teaching for more than seven years in total, in the National Technical University of Athens, Engineering Intelligence and at Neapolis University Pafos, Cyprus, where he is currently appointed as a Lecturer. In the past, he has also founded and managed a lifelong training organization for engineers with more than 5000 trainees. Apart from his teaching and administrative activities, he is focused on research in applied mathematics, machine learning, data science, optimization, and relevant topics. He is also running NOESYS, for seminars, consulting and professional applications of machine learning algorithms.

Career Milestones include A recent monograph in Research, a Science Partner Journal for the numerical solution of the predictions problem of analytic functions; 40 Research works on numerical methods, optimization, data analysis, machine learning, statistics, and predictions; 10 years of professional and scientific programming (MIT’s Julia, Matlab, C++, etc.); 7 years of Teaching at Universities, Seminars, and Workshops; Foundation, growth, and management of Engineering Intelligence, an educational organization for engineering seminars with more than 5000, professional Engineers trainees. Continued as noesys.net; and Participation and management of impactful research projects with European funding (i.e. interview at Euronews). He can be contacted at n.bakas@nup.ac.cy, nibas@mail.ntua.gr


Prof Edward G. Ochieng

Dubai, UAE




Edward Ochieng, PhD, PGCertHELT, MSc, BSc (Hons), FHEA, AHEA is a Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Business and Law at The British University in Dubai (BUiD), United Arab Emirates. Dr Ochieng’s research is focused on major project management. He has extensive experience and knowledge relating to organisational challenges and solution development for managing large capital and heavy engineering projects. Edward has published 3 books, 28 book chapters and over 85-refereed papers in refereed journals and conferences. He has supervised 9 PhD students to successful completion and over 300 MSc/MBA industrial projects by research. Edward is currently supervising 4 PhD students. He has also acted as an internal and external examiner of more than 11 PhD students in different UK universities. Edward has secured an estimated £654,538.00 from a range of funders for several projects and consultancy in project management. Email: Edward.ochieng@buid.ac.ae



Ioannis Karamitsos

Dubai, UAE




Dr. Ioannis Karamitsos (B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.) has vast industry and research experience over 25 years as an executive manager who worked within the private and public sectors and experienced within European, Middle East and Chinese companies. From 2010 to present, Ioannis is a Regional Director Technology Consultancy at Orange Business Services. Ioannis is member of DSOA-Dubai Innovation Advisory Board. In 2016, he had joined the Department of Electrical Engineering as an adjunct professor at Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai. In addition, Ioannis is academic coordinator for the Master of Data Analytics provided by RIT Dubai.

He is particularly interested in applying Blockchain, Cryptography, Machine learning, IIoT, and data mining techniques to emerging problems related to large-scale decentralized cyber-physical systems and critical infrastructures as well as energy, mining, health care and other domains of major economic and social impact. Ioannis received his PhD in Computer Science from University of Sunderland, UK, a Master Degree in Telematics Management from University of Danube Krems, Austria, and Bachelor Degree (Laurea) in Electronic Engineering from University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy. His have also executive certificates from MIT (Tackling the challenge of Big Data) and from Columbia Business School (Driving Strategic Impact Program).


Richard Kirkham

Manchester, UK



Richard Kirkham is currently co-lead of the Management of Projects Research Group in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester, with responsibility for research. Richard is an active researcher in the field of project studies; his research and teaching interests focus on risk management in the context of whole-life appraisal of buildings and civil infrastructure. Richard’s earlier research contributions in whole-life costing for infrastructure (incorporated into ISO15686-5) continue through government advisory, particularly in the context of major government projects  This was recognized in 2016 with the award of an ESRC staff secondment to the Cabinet Office where he worked in the Portfolio Insight Team (now the Analysis and Insight Unit) of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

Richard is also an active participant and co-investigator in the ESRC funded ‘Project X – Improving Project Delivery’ (Grant Ref: ES/S009841/1). This is a major investment that seeks to improve the evidence base surrounding major project and programme delivery in government by generate unique insights through world-leading ‘co-produced’ research. Richard is also an active researcher in the Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research, collaboration between The University of Manchester and the Health and Safety Executive.

Richard was PI for two Cabinet Office funded projects examining risk in the context of government transformation. Richard’s teaching at Manchester covers a broad spectrum of undergraduate and postgraduate work – including ‘Civil Engineering Practice’, ‘Construction Management Professional Practice’ and ‘Risk Management’. Richard has also delivered blended learning education through the MSc Project Management Professional Development Programme and the BP Executive Education programme that was led by Manchester Business School. Richard has also held a number of internal appointments including Faculty Employability Lead and Portfolio Director for the British University in Dubai (BUiD).