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Improving the effectiveness of public participation in public infrastructure megaprojects

Lufeng Wu (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Guangshe Jia (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Puwei Zhang (College of City Construction, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, China)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 26 July 2019

Issue publication date: 29 October 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how to improve the effectiveness of public participation in public infrastructure megaprojects (PIMs). Conflicts among stakeholders and uncertainty disrupt the success of PIMs when public participation is ineffective.

Design/methodology/approach

Secondhand data are collected to study the effectiveness of public participation in the Beijing–Shenyang High-Speed Rail (China) and the California High-Speed Rail (USA). The employed research method is an inductive case study.

Findings

Ineffective public participation can cause schedule and cost overruns and increase uncertainty in PIMs. The ambiguity of meaningful public participation, ineffective participatory approaches and overburden of public participation in environmental impact assessment are the causes of ineffective public participation in PIMs.

Research limitations/implications

Public participation has become an essential part in PIMs management. This study looks at the understanding of the relationship between public participation and the success of PIMs.

Practical implications

Legislative bodies should perfect the laws to guarantee meaningful public participation. Lead agencies should adopt additional effective participatory approaches to solicit public comments and identify critical voices. A dispute solution mechanism is necessary to solve public participation disputes in PIMs in practice.

Originality/value

Stakeholder and uncertainty management are important to the success of PIMs. This study reveals methods to improve the effectiveness of public participation to alleviate the conflicts among stakeholders and reduce uncertainty in PIMs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Data availability statement: All data generated or analyzed during the study are included in the published article.

Citation

Wu, L., Jia, G. and Zhang, P. (2020), "Improving the effectiveness of public participation in public infrastructure megaprojects", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 13 No. 7, pp. 1522-1536. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-12-2018-0281

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited