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Institutional Challenges and Solutions for Global Megaprojects

TitleInstitutional Challenges and Solutions for Global Megaprojects
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLevitt, RE, W. Scott, R
Book TitleThe Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management
PublisherOxford University Press
Keywordsglobal, institutional challenges, megaprojects, multi-million dollar project

Megaprojects are very large, complex projects requiring new, and often previously untested, management skills and techniques for their successful implementation. Multibillion-dollar projects have become the norm for many infrastructure and resource extraction facilities worldwide over the last decade. However, increased size and scope do not necessarily transform a large project into a “megaproject” in terms of coordination difficulty. (Lessard et al 2014) define project complexity in terms of a project’s “difficulty, outcome variability and non-linearity, and (non) governability” and they propose a “House of Project Complexity”—a combined structural and processbased theoretical framework for understanding contributors to complexity. We agree with their characterization of the drivers of complexity. We distinguish “megaprojects” from other large projects in terms of the degree to which managers can reduce overall project coordination costs for handling overall project complexity through partitioning of the project into more or less autonomous subprojects. Further, “Global Megaprojects” also involve significant levels of cross-institutional complexity because they involve participants and outside groups from multiple countries with differing languages and institutions.