Managing public-private megaprojects: Paradoxes, complexity, and project design

Alfons van Marrewijk*, Stewart R. Clegg, Tyrone S. Pitsis, Marcel Veenswijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

328 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies show that despite their growing popularity, megaprojects - large-scale, complex projects delivered through various partnerships between public and private organisations - often fail to meet costs estimations, time schedules and project outcomes and are motivated by vested interests which operate against the public interest. This paper presents a more benign and theoretically-grounded view on what goes wrong by comparing the project designs, daily practices, project cultures and management approaches of two recent megaprojects in The Netherlands and Australia, showing how these projects made sense of uncertainty, ambiguity and risk. We conclude that project design and project cultures play a role in determining how managers and partners cooperate to achieve project objectives to a greater or lesser extent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-600
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Managing projects
  • Megaproject
  • Organisation culture
  • Organisation design
  • Partnerships


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