A study on risk factors involved in electrical transmission line projects: A comparative study of ISM (Interpretative Structural Modelling) and AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) method


This study assesses the project risk undertaken for completing various projects in the electrical power sector. We have analyzed the various risk factors related to transmission lines’ installation. The technique used is ISM (Interpretative Structural Modelling) which offers a very lucid explanation of factors related to risk and also their interdependence with other factors. Along with it, AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) is also used to rank the project risks. The paper also notifies the various risks that are in particularly related with the electrical industry and mainly in the sector of transmission lines. The analysis can be further carried out by various industries since the factors may be different but the analysis’ methodology will remain the same. Graphical relationship and ISM model is used to represent the correlation between the HR (Human Resource) factors (9 in number) and general risks that are identified in 30 different categories. Their ranking of risks is being done on the basis of AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process). Hence, the result provides a complete analysis on the transmission line risks and their interdependence among themselves and human resource factors.


  • The paper deals with a collection of risk factors affecting projects for installation of transmission lines.
  • The ISM model is used to categorize these risk factors into different levels and into categories that are- Autonomous risks, Dependent risks, Linkage risks and Independent risks.
  • AHP is used to find the relative ranking of all risk factors, which can also be very helpful in designing the model for risk generation.


The various activities in any transmission line can be divided into several sub-categories. This process is common for any transmission line which is to be laid out. However, the risk and its intensity for each transmission line project are different. We have studied the various risks that are involved in any particular activity of a transmission line. These risks will be studied from the project management team’s involvement and hence, we can say that the mapping of risk and their variations with human resource capability involved will be done.

In most electrical industries, the problem related to diversion from the course of the project plan can be solved through better risk management. Its importance increases manifold when the industry is technically sensitive such as the electrical transmission lines installation industry. Hence, in our study, we have quantified the risk by linking the human resource (project management team) and the uncertainty quotient.

In every project, there is a probabilistic amount of uncertainty involved; in spite of this, some projects are completed successfully while others lag due to their inability to deal with uncertainty. Better adapted and capable human resource (project management team) is a tool to analyze the probability of timely outcome of the project with the desired output and features.

This is the study of electrical transmission lines installation firms (which form about 65-70% of the supplier base for any multinational firm’s project in Power System Pender et al. (2001)) in which the uncertainty quotient is calculated. It is associated with relative weights of the sum total of risk factors involved in that project be it external, internal or any other type of risk involved. Hence, the result gives us a tool for risk management by using this quantified risk factor in the generation of a model or as a guideline for that particular project’s risk calculation.

The study by Flood (1989) proves that in depicting the uncertainty with reference to the on time performance, human resource (project management team involved) can be a very vital indicator of the efficiency of the firm. Many of these small scale and medium size industries never use state-of-the-art facilities of project management. So determination of uncertainty (with respect to human resource capability) becomes of utmost important for them. As a matter of fact, the uncertainty is practically more in such industries.

The midsized industries of electrical instruments and allied components suffer a lot due to faulty uncertainty calculations because a huge amount of external and internal risks are involved in such industries. Moreover with the advent of our study, we have proposed a full fledged control over the cost related with such projects and in benchmarking of projects on account of risk. This is possible due to the determination of the exact level of cost to be used as input for risk handling and the overall cost of the whole project can be reduced along with the lowering of uncertainty levels.

The electrical transmission line project installation can be divided into several sectors and all of them need expertise in installation. In an emerging economy such as India, more and more of such projects are undertaken by numerous firms regularly, hence, the study definitely proves helpful in all such future projects.

In the successive steps of study the factors of uncertainty for a particular project are being analyzed and using the uncertainty quotient hence derived, we have tried to assess the ability of firms to deal with these uncertainties. This study proves helpful in determining a predefined set of factors, predicting the nature of the firm’s project management team on a project and indicating how it will deal with the uncertainty involved with the project. This methodology will give an insight to the project management team on how to carry on that particular project with maximum efficiency and which course of action to be taken for the project’s timely delivery. This study also brings out which factors are more important than others for successful execution of the project.

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