Symbols, Sublimes, Solutions, and Problems

A Garbage Can Model of Megaprojects

In this article, we deploy Cohen, March, and Olsen's (1972) garbage can model of decision making to produce a different lens on the performance of megaprojects. Using a sample of firms involved in hydrocarbon megaprojects, we show that the problems given the most public attention by the industry are different from those responsible for budget overruns. Furthermore, the attribution of reasons for exceeding project budget differs between project owners and supply chain firms. This is consistent with garbage can model predictions around problem latency when the multifaceted symbolism of these projects drives divergent prioritization of problems in project execution.
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