Megaprojects: A Design and Strategy Perspective

  • Colm Lundrigan

Student thesis: Unknown


Modern society faces complex problems of collective action that require the development of long-lived capital infrastructure to cope with issues such as population growth, energy shortages, rising sea levels, and migration to cities. These so called 'megaprojects' require collaboration between legally independent organizational actors including governments, public bodies and firms. However despite being an important element of a competitive society in both developed and developing countries megaprojects are frequently attacked by pundits in both the media and academia for failing to live up to performance expectations. This research seeks to advance the extant megaproject debate by answering three high-level sweeping questions - what are megaprojects, why are they perceived as performing so badly, and what can management do about it?In answering these questions the research makes a number of contributions. First, it argues that megaprojects are consensus-oriented organizational networks formed to develop large systems of non-decomposable components to be shared in use by many autonomous actors. Second, it finds that megaproject projects have ambiguous performance due to the co-existence of conflicting 'performance narratives' created by stakeholder groups. Further, it shows that these competing narratives stem from the evolution of the megaprojects organizational structure over time. And finally, the research proposes a sequencing strategy that aligns the growth of the megaproject network with the hierarchy of product design choices to improve the perceptions of performance.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorNuno Gil (Supervisor)


  • Megaprojects
  • Strategy
  • Management

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