Making sense of an innovation in a safety-critical megaproject

Kirsi Aaltonen (Corresponding Author), Nadezhda Gotcheva, Jaakko Kujala, Karlos Artto

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: In megaprojects, changes in scope and organization may occur continuously. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how actors in a project network make sense of a safety-related process innovation introduced during the design phase. Design/methodology/approach: An inductive single case study of an ongoing nuclear power plant project in Europe was employed to elucidate sensemaking processes using a narrative approach. Findings: The empirical analysis yielded nine distinct narratives regarding the innovation each advancing a different account of the rationale for implementing the new method, and the subjects, objects and implications of the change. The findings suggest that actors’ differing framings of innovation may increase ambiguity and equivocality. Originality/value: These insights augment existing knowledge of innovation management and system safety in safety-critical megaprojects by revealing project actors’ discrepant sensemaking processes with regard to innovations. To successfully manage sensemaking and its consequences for innovation adoption, managers need to take account of any such discrepancies in sensemaking processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)520-542
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
    Issue number3
    Early online date14 Nov 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Change
    • Innovation management
    • Megaprojects
    • Project networks


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