Risk management and uncertainty in megaprojects is a flourishing topic in project management, while the unexpected is still a neglected matter. The purpose of this paper…
Risk management and uncertainty in megaprojects is a flourishing topic in project management, while the unexpected is still a neglected matter. The purpose of this paper is to offer conceptual clarifications of the unexpected based on second-order-cybernetics and systems theory. While transferring findings from organisation theory to project management, the article provides fresh insights into managing the unexpected in megaprojects.
Being grounded on constructionism and systems theory, the conceptual paper explores selected research approaches from organisation theory: research on high-reliability organising, organisational resilience and organisational improvising, on contributions to managing the unexpected in megaprojects. Using the framework of meaning i.e. the factual, social and temporal dimensions, challenges of handling the unexpected are analysed and (effects of) decision-making structures for such projects are defined.
This paper argues that classic project management, while neglecting the fundamental distinction between risk, uncertainty and the unexpected, sticks to a planning-and-controlling approach. But the unexpected cannot be planned; however, organisations and managers can prepare for the unexpected. This requests a balance between structure and self-organisation in planning, communication, hierarchy and organisational culture. Understanding the contradictions inherent in managing megaprojects allows for smart decision-making when riding the waves of resilience.
The study adds to the literature on complexity and uncertainty in project management by enhancing the view to include the unexpected. While rejecting the universal applicability of rationality-based risk and controlling conceptions, shifting to second-order cybernetics and integrating elements of resilient organising increases the understanding of handling the unexpected in megaprojects.
The discussion on career plateaus is marked by a diversity of operationalizations. This paper focuses on the independence of three dimensions of career plateaus and the…
The discussion on career plateaus is marked by a diversity of operationalizations. This paper focuses on the independence of three dimensions of career plateaus and the impact they have on outcome measures in three areas: performance, work satisfaction and commitment. Data from 165 university staff and 77 school teachers confirmed the independence of the concepts of career plateaus. Contrary to the general assumption that an extended period working at the same position has detrimental effects, outcome variables were not connected to position immobility. Results for most of the outcome measures showed the work‐content dimension to account for significantly more variance than the subjective structural dimension. Advances in work content can even moderate negative effects emanating from low expectations of hierarchical promotion. Specifically, the negative effects were most pronounced where the two subjective dimensions of career plateau coincided. These have implications for individual and organizational career management processes.