Project Management Institute

How Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership Projects Change over Project Development Phases

This research adds to work on the development of infrastructure public-private partnership projects (P3s), which is a rapidly growing mode of infrastructure service delivery. Infrastructure P3 projects typically have a long life cycle, but little is understood about the nature of the changes that such a project goes through over the phases of its life cycle. This article contributes to project research as it studies the changes that an infrastructure P3 project goes through over its life cycle and suggests how those changes can be governed over the life cycle of the project. The research is empirically informed from an in-depth case study of a highway transportation P3 in California over a 20-year period. This research shows that the developmental phases of P3s differ by dramatic changes in the composition of stakeholder networks and the use of institutional logic. First, employing social network analysis (SNA), we map the network of stakeholders in the P3 case and show how the stakeholder network changes over four phases. Second, we identify how different stakeholders use formal and informal institutional logic in their interactions, and demonstrate that the dominant institutional logic employed in the P3 changes from informal to formal over the P3's life cycle. We further show how this change in the P3's dominant institutional logic corresponds to the dynamism in the stakeholder network. We propose that infrastructure P3s should be analyzed and governed as the dynamic arrangements they are -- constellations of stakeholders that change individually and undergo change collectively over a long life cycle of different phases.
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