Taking a Holistic Exploration of the Project Life Cycle in Public-Private Partnerships

Operations and projects are typically treated as dichotomous concepts; projects create assets to be operated. The segregation of operations from projects is evidenced in the generic project life cycle (concept, feasibility, design, execute, and close) in which consideration of an operations stage is omitted. This article, however, suggests that this omission renders the generic project life cycle (PLC) unsuitable as a frame of reference for managing (and researching) long-term public infrastructure projects, in particular those delivered under the auspices of private participation in infrastructure initiatives such as public-private partnerships (PPPs). Drawing on the normative literature and the authors' phenomenological research that is embedded in practice, this article demonstrates that operations are an inherent feature of PPP projects. Thus, the generic PLC model is inconsistent with the actuality of PPPs. Implications of this inconsistency for operations management and research of PPPs, particularly in relation to quality, risk, and human resource management are identified and discussed.
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