MegaProject Organization and Performance The Myth and Political Reality

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This report summarizes the insights of a three-year study on “megaprojects” – the project-based organizations purposely formed to develop capital-intensive, large-scale infrastructure systems. Our aim was to further our understanding of what form of organizing work a megaproject is and investigate the extent to which we could trace empirical regularities in the performance of megaprojects back to their organizational structure. Our central claim is that megaprojects are a meta-organization—a network of legally independent actors collaborating under an identifiable system-level goal. As with any meta-organization, megaprojects are guided by a “systems architect”, a designated leader who steers the organization in pursuit of a higher-order goal. In the case of megaprojects, the systems architect is the project promoter, the actor who had the grand idea and provides leadership. The promoter can be a solo actor, such as a public agency, a government, a private firm, or a coalition of actors.

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