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Investigating collective sensemaking of a major project success

Maude Brunet (HEC Montréal, Montréal, Canada)
Daniel Forgues (Department of Construction Engineering, Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Montréal, Canada)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 8 January 2019

Issue publication date: 8 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate a case of collective sensemaking about the project success of the multifunctional amphitheater of Quebec (Canada).


For this explorative and qualitative research, the authors started from the post-mortem document and complemented their comprehension with six semi-structured interviews with the main project actors and other public documents regarding this project.


According to the respondents, the main success factors of this project can be attributed to: a clear governance structure; proven project management and construction methods; the use of emerging collaborative practices in construction (such as building information modeling (BIM) and lean construction); an adapted policy for procurement; as well as a code of values and ethics shared by all stakeholders.


The sensemaking perspective has been scarcely mobilized in project management studies, emerging from a constructivist view of reality and being sensitive about material-discursive practices. This exploratory study explores a case of collective sensemaking of a major project success and suggests avenues for major and megaprojects research. Lessons learned and implications for practice are also outlined. The conclusion allows a synthesis and an opening to consider how practitioners and researchers can build on this (and other successful) case(s) for future projects and research.



A previous version of this paper has been presented to EURAM 2018, in the Special Topic Track on Managing Major and Mega Projects: The Importance to Broaden Classical Project Management Approaches. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers along with the interviewed participants who took part in this research.


Brunet, M. and Forgues, D. (2019), "Investigating collective sensemaking of a major project success", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 644-665.



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