Business and Management Research News

Prof. Dr. Pernille Eskerod, together with Karyne Ang of the University of Technology Sydney and Erling S. Andersen of the BI Norwegian Business School, conducted a study on (1) stakeholder value constructs in megaprojects, and (2) project opportunity exploitation in megaprojects. Both studies were based on the same in-depth case study.

Megaprojects consume numerous resources and impact numerous people. Those affected can even span generations.  Therefore, it is important that megaprojects bring considerable value to both their initiators and other stakeholders. Instead of “just” bringing what has been accepted as “good enough” in a business case analysis at the project’s conception, megaprojects can potentially bring more value than expected if opportunities are identified and exploited. This can happen if a megaproject is used in a way that differs from its intended purpose(s) or by initially-unintended stakeholder groups.

A single case study of an infrastructure megaproject, i.e. the construction and operation of a 50+ year-old American bridge (Astoria-Megler Bridge, crossing Columbia River between Oregon and Washington states) was undertaken. The data consisted of 14 interviews, online videos of speeches, newspaper articles, books, historical documents, website texts, and photographs. Some of the interviewees were related family members (i.e., parents and son, father and daughter), thus accounting for subsequent generations being involved in construction of the bridge. In addition, Dr. Eskerod made onsite observations during a six-day stay in a hotel in Astoria, close to the bridge.

In the first study, ways to understand, classify, and express megaproject stakeholder value were identified. The research links different stakeholder types to types of value constructs. Knowing which types of value constructs matter to different stakeholder types can potentially help project representatives communicate more efficiently and effectively.

The second study shows that project opportunity exploitation can be enhanced by:

  • encouraging and accepting the involvement of many categories of stakeholders that can take advantage the project for their own purposes;
  • enhancing that stakeholders are proud of the project, and thereby will engage in or even initiate activities that are generating further benefits to themselves and/or others;
  • realizing that project opportunities may materialize after a long time (e.g. the bridge’s 50 year anniversary); and
  • celebrating achievements of the project and thereby stimulating stakeholders to exploit the opportunities created by the project, which will contribute to further benefits of the project.

The studies were presented at international conferences, i.e. IRNOP 2017 in Boston and EURAM 2017 in Glasgow, both in June 2017.

You can read more about the research in the articles below:

Eskerod, P. & Ang, K. (2017). Stakeholder Value Constructs in Megaprojects: A Long-Term Assessment Case Study. Project Management Journal, 48(6): 60-75.

Eskerod, P., Ang, K. & Andersen, E.S. (2018). Increasing Project Benefits by Project Opportunity Exploitation, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 11(1). (will be published soon)

Astoria Bridge in 2009, Photo courtesy of Ron Reiring (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, 2017)