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To which extent do projects explore the opportunity space? : A study of conceptual appraisals and the choice of conceptual solutions

Knut Samset (Department of Civil and Transport Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Bjorn Andersen (Department of Production and Quality Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Kjell Austeng (Department of Civil and Transport Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 27 May 2014

653

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore a selection of projects to understand how conceptual appraisals and choice of concepts are handled, and to which extent the conceptual opportunity space is exploited.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is essentially case based, and rooted in a number of in-depth studies of single-project cases. Its study combines information from document studies with interview data, and culminates in normative recommendations.

Findings

The study found that the projects do indeed not exploit the opportunity space to a very large extent. The lessons from the present study is that the final choice is determined more by decision makers than the analysts, and will often be the result of policy and preferences more than objective reasoning. Which again suggests that the efforts as analysts will often be in vain.

Research limitations/implications

These findings could influence theoretical models outlining project establishment and decision processes.

Practical implications

The study has identified many shortcomings in public sector processes that could be utilized to alter such processes.

Originality/value

The study is original in that it focusses on the concept development phase of projects, rather than the traditional execution phase, and has studied decision processes.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research has been financed by the Concept research program. The program received several research proposal, and steering group evaluated these to select projects to receive financing. Concept was not involved in the execution of the study.

Citation

Samset, K., Andersen, B. and Austeng, K. (2014), "To which extent do projects explore the opportunity space? : A study of conceptual appraisals and the choice of conceptual solutions", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 473-492. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-08-2013-0038

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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