Project Management Institute

The Multivocality of Symbols

A Longitudinal Study of the Symbolic Dimensions of the High-Speed Train Megaproject (1995-2015)

Megaprojects can be perceived as modern symbols, crucial for the encapsulation of ideas, attitudes, and beliefs. This study explores the exegetical meanings, or meanings derived from local interpretation, that a megaproject can encapsulate and how those meanings shape the megaproject's process. A longitudinal study of the Dutch High-Speed Train megaproject was executed. The findings show three exegetical meanings of the megaproject, which were used for strategic goals, leading to power struggles, delays, and cost overrun, and finally resulting in a negative symbol of a failed megaproject. This article contributes to the megaproject literature with an anthropological perspective on symbolism.
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