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Lifecycle-oriented framing of value at the front end of infrastructure projects

Miia Maarit Martinsuo (Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
Lauri Vuorinen (Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
Catherine Killen (University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Australia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 21 December 2018

Issue publication date: 8 October 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Infrastructure projects are expected to deliver value to their stakeholders long after completion. Project value is multi-dimensional and subjective and evolves over the project lifecycle. How stakeholders frame the expected value is central to the public debate about proposed infrastructure projects and influences the financing decisions; however, this framing is inadequately understood. The purpose of this paper is to develop new knowledge for shaping infrastructure projects by identifying the ways in which stakeholders frame project value at the project front end.

Design/methodology/approach

Three transport infrastructure projects are compared in a qualitative, document-based study. The authors map the dimensions of value at the project front end and identify stakeholders’ approaches to lifecycle-oriented framing of value.

Findings

Financial, social and comparative values are dominant in the project front end. The authors frame value into positive and negative dimensions and identify four themes in the lifecycle-oriented framing of value, including uncertainties, timing of cost and benefit realization, project relations and external sponsorship.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited through the focus on transport infrastructure projects and project front end only, the selection of cases from a single country and the use of document-based data. The systematic analysis approach has yielded novel analytical frameworks that will be useful for further research.

Practical implications

This study identifies value dimensions that are specific to transport infrastructure projects and proposes a framework to assist stakeholders and project managers to better assess and negotiate value when designing their projects.

Originality/value

Regional and comparative values are revealed as novel aspects of value specific to infrastructure projects. The alternative lifecycle-oriented frames offer a new way to understand and structure the co-creation of value and shape negotiation for investment decisions in the project. A portfolio perspective to investment decision making is proposed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Jesse Kivilä, Tuomas Ilvonen and Mihkal Laiti for assistance in collecting and arranging the original data at the front end of this research. An earlier, partial version of this paper was presented at the “Managing Major and Mega Projects” track of the EURAM European Academy of Management conference, June 20–23, 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland. The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful and constructive feedback of the reviewers, session chair and discussant, and the audience. Significant modifications have been made based on the feedback.

Citation

Martinsuo, M.M., Vuorinen, L. and Killen, C. (2019), "Lifecycle-oriented framing of value at the front end of infrastructure projects", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 617-643. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-09-2018-0172

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited