Logo NGI
nl
en
Zoeken

infrabase >

projecten >

cultural change in the infrastructural sector

 
 
Nummer
02.23
 
Naam
Cultural Change in the Infrastructural Sector
 
Samenvatting

Serving as milestones in mankind’s development, national triumphs and technical advances, mega projects are a ubiquitous part of our everyday life. However, the construction processes of these projects often fail to meet expectations as they experience difficulties with regard to realizing on time, in budget and on scope. In the Netherlands, the Betuwe rail line fiasco, the problems on the high-speed rail line and the numerous issues during construction of Amsterdam’s new metro line are just a few examples. These problems are not restricted to the Netherlands; there are countless similar cases aboard.

 
Projectleider
Marcel Veenswijk (projectleider)
Onderzoekers
Alfons van Marrewijk
 
Karen Smits
Beschrijving

Cross-Cultural Collaboration in Infrastructural Mega Projects: A Collabyrinth

Serving as milestones in mankind’s development, national triumphs and technical advances, mega projects are a ubiquitous part of our everyday life. However, the construction processes of these projects often fail to meet expectations as they experience difficulties with regard to realizing on time, in budget and on scope. In the Netherlands, the Betuwe rail line fiasco, the problems on the high-speed rail line and the numerous issues during construction of Amsterdam’s new metro line are just a few examples. These problems are not restricted to the Netherlands; there are countless similar cases aboard.

Strikingly, little (academic) attention has been paid to the ‘people’-side of project management. Project organizations generally consist of employees residing from various specialized organizations bringing numerous cultural differences and similarities, distinctive practices and differing values and interests for participation to the work floor. Collaboration amongst them is inevitable. Therefore, an anthropological field study in the Panama Canal Expansion Program delved into how collaboration manifests itself in the everyday practices of project participants. For the period of one year the researcher was daily present in the project organization observing important gatherings and meetings and interviewing actors at all organizational levels. Being up close and in person at the work floor allowed an understanding of how project participants make sense of the complexity in their day tot day work and of how to reveal practices of collaboration.

Within the Panama Canal Expansion Program both diminishing and amplifying practices of collaboration emerged. Referring to those actions and activities that hindered collaboration, diminishing practices resulted in differentiation and fragmentation among the project participants; they created a ‘canal’ between them. Nevertheless, as time passed and project participants recognized the need for a collaborative relationship, amplifying practices evolved. The study found practices that steered actors to integrate and intermingle so that their skills, knowledge and experiences could be combined. It appeared that project participants carried an underlying need to collaborate with co-workers and, despite the complexities, developed manners to enhance a collaborative relationship.

Transpiring the internal dynamics of the everyday project, the neology of collaboration and labyrinth, a collabyrinth, reflects the actors’ journey to collaboration. It demonstrates the complexity of working together across cultures and practices and illustrates the practices that emerged in the project organization (see Figure 1). Unraveling the cultural complexity, as is done in this study, helps us to understand what is actually going on in a project organization and to obtain better insight into the lived experiences of project participants. Furthermore, this study can support project managers in their prevention activities to remain within budget and schedule.

 

 
Partners
Ballast Nedam
 
DHV
 
Ministerie van Transport, infrastructuur en water
 
Royal BAM
 
Royal Haskoning
 
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Deelprogramma
Public values
Sector
Transport
Publicaties
Aesthetic Experiences of Designed Organizational Space artikel vakblad
 
Cross Cultural Work. A study on the daily practices of collaboration in the Panama Canal Expansion Program proefschrift
 
Developing new knowledge in collaborative relationships in megaproject alliances: organising reflection in the Dutch construction sector artikel vakblad
 
Organizing reflexivity in designed change: the ethnoventionist approach artikel vakblad
 
Practices of Collaboration of Public and Private Partners in the Panama Canal Expansion Program artikel vakblad
 
Rematerializing Megaprojects A Social-Material Study of Organizational Development in two Megaprojects artikel vakblad
 
Revitalizing Techno-anarchists and Cyberpunks. Organizational transformation of internet service provider IPX artikel vakblad
 
Situational Construction of Dutch – Indian Cultural Differences in Global IT Projects artikel vakblad
Afgerond
2012
 

Logo NGI

Bouwcampus
Van der Burghweg 1
2628 CS Delft
secretariaat@nginfra.nl
telefoon: 015 303 0900

© 2016 Next Generation Infrastructures