The purpose of this paper is to investigate the process of translation of an institutionalized governance framework as adapted to a major project in practice. Although infrastructure projects have been studied for decades, most studies have emphasized economic or contingency-based perspectives. Of those studies, some researchers have focused on governance frameworks for public infrastructure projects, and their impact for shaping the front-end phase of those projects. Yet, little is known about the way actors translate and enact those governance frameworks into practice. Understanding this translation process will lead to a better understanding of the overall performance of major infrastructure projects.
This qualitative research is based on a case study of one public infrastructure project in the health sector in Quebec, Canada. Through non-participant observation and interviews, the planning phase of the project is presented as it unfolds.
The process of translation is presented, from the ostensive, institutionalized governance framework, to appropriation into performative practices, which resulted in 12 specific practices: four “structuring” practices at the institutional level, five “normalizing” practices at the organizational level and three “facilitating” practices at the project level.
The main contribution of this paper is to enrich our understanding of the governance of major public infrastructure projects with process- and practice-based theories.
This doctoral research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the ESG UQAM Chair in Project Management. The authors wish to thank the Quebec government for allowing this research to be conducted, and all participants who contributed to make this possible. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the EURAM 2017 conference (SIG Project Organizing), and received the Emerald Publishing Award Best Paper within the special topic track on Mega and Major Projects, along with the IPMA-PMI – Best Student Paper Award. The authors are grateful to Nathalie Drouin, Joseph Facal, Marian Thunnissen, Diletta Colette Invernizzi and participants of the EURAM 2017 conference who attended this presentation for their useful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
Brunet, M. and Aubry, M. (2018), "The governance of major public infrastructure projects: the process of translation", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 80-103. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-08-2017-0095
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