Making sense of an innovation in a project network

A megaproject case study from the nuclear power industry

Kirsi Aaltonen, Nadezhda Gotcheva, Jaakko Kujala, Karlos Artto

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Project networks are dynamic multi-organizational entities where the participating organizations are contributing to a common goal. In megaprojects, changes in the project's scope and organization may be carried out continuously. This article investigates how the actors in a project network make sense of a novel method introduced in a safety-critical project. We research empirically a project network of a nuclear power plant project where a process innovation was introduced somewhat abruptly during the design phase. We derive nine distinct storylines from our empirical analysis, which describe a wide range of perceptions and interpretations about the adoption of an innovation among the participants of the project network. These findings suggest that in project networks the sensemaking process is fragmented and includes several different framings. These insights have a significant potential to contribute to the development of new theories on complex project networks where any single member organization's - even the central and powerful hub-organization's like owner's or investor's - capability to influence others and to understand the system is limited. Therefore, each network member needs to be committed and capable of carrying out systematic activities for continuously enhancing safety and directing the project towards what will turn out to be optimal from the point of view of the whole project.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventIRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference - Boston, United States
Duration: 11 Jun 201714 Jun 2017

Conference

ConferenceIRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference
CountryUnited States
CityBoston
Period11/06/1714/06/17

Fingerprint

Nuclear energy
Innovation
Industry
Nuclear power plants

Keywords

  • megaproject
  • project network
  • innovation
  • change
  • sensemaking
  • safety
  • nuclear industry

Cite this

Aaltonen, K., Gotcheva, N., Kujala, J., & Artto, K. (2017). Making sense of an innovation in a project network: A megaproject case study from the nuclear power industry. Paper presented at IRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference, Boston, United States.
Aaltonen, Kirsi ; Gotcheva, Nadezhda ; Kujala, Jaakko ; Artto, Karlos. / Making sense of an innovation in a project network : A megaproject case study from the nuclear power industry. Paper presented at IRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference, Boston, United States.
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Aaltonen, K, Gotcheva, N, Kujala, J & Artto, K 2017, 'Making sense of an innovation in a project network: A megaproject case study from the nuclear power industry' Paper presented at IRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference, Boston, United States, 11/06/17 - 14/06/17, .

Making sense of an innovation in a project network : A megaproject case study from the nuclear power industry. / Aaltonen, Kirsi; Gotcheva, Nadezhda; Kujala, Jaakko; Artto, Karlos.

2017. Paper presented at IRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference, Boston, United States.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Making sense of an innovation in a project network

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AU - Gotcheva, Nadezhda

AU - Kujala, Jaakko

AU - Artto, Karlos

PY - 2017

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N2 - Project networks are dynamic multi-organizational entities where the participating organizations are contributing to a common goal. In megaprojects, changes in the project's scope and organization may be carried out continuously. This article investigates how the actors in a project network make sense of a novel method introduced in a safety-critical project. We research empirically a project network of a nuclear power plant project where a process innovation was introduced somewhat abruptly during the design phase. We derive nine distinct storylines from our empirical analysis, which describe a wide range of perceptions and interpretations about the adoption of an innovation among the participants of the project network. These findings suggest that in project networks the sensemaking process is fragmented and includes several different framings. These insights have a significant potential to contribute to the development of new theories on complex project networks where any single member organization's - even the central and powerful hub-organization's like owner's or investor's - capability to influence others and to understand the system is limited. Therefore, each network member needs to be committed and capable of carrying out systematic activities for continuously enhancing safety and directing the project towards what will turn out to be optimal from the point of view of the whole project.

AB - Project networks are dynamic multi-organizational entities where the participating organizations are contributing to a common goal. In megaprojects, changes in the project's scope and organization may be carried out continuously. This article investigates how the actors in a project network make sense of a novel method introduced in a safety-critical project. We research empirically a project network of a nuclear power plant project where a process innovation was introduced somewhat abruptly during the design phase. We derive nine distinct storylines from our empirical analysis, which describe a wide range of perceptions and interpretations about the adoption of an innovation among the participants of the project network. These findings suggest that in project networks the sensemaking process is fragmented and includes several different framings. These insights have a significant potential to contribute to the development of new theories on complex project networks where any single member organization's - even the central and powerful hub-organization's like owner's or investor's - capability to influence others and to understand the system is limited. Therefore, each network member needs to be committed and capable of carrying out systematic activities for continuously enhancing safety and directing the project towards what will turn out to be optimal from the point of view of the whole project.

KW - megaproject

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Aaltonen K, Gotcheva N, Kujala J, Artto K. Making sense of an innovation in a project network: A megaproject case study from the nuclear power industry. 2017. Paper presented at IRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference, Boston, United States.