Increasing project benefits by project opportunity exploitation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 2018, 11 (1), pp. 35 - 52
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© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: Exploitation of project opportunities may bring more benefits than stipulated in the initial business case, and even stakeholder benefits that nobody thought of at the project initiation. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a new research area for megaprojects, i.e. the phenomenon of project opportunity exploitation as a means to increase the project benefits. Design/methodology/approach: This is a single case study of an infrastructure megaproject, i.e. the construction and operation of a 50+ years old American bridge. Data cover information regarding 60+ years old historical documents, newspaper articles, interviews and video-recordings. Findings: The findings of this paper are as follows: exploiting all opportunities created by the project and increasing project benefits require involvement from many categories of stakeholders; stakeholders get more involved in exploiting the opportunities created by the project when they are proud of the project; for some of the project-related opportunities, it might take a long time before they can be exploited (and related benefits achieved); and celebrating achievements of the project stimulate stakeholders to exploit opportunities created by the project and contribute to further project benefits. Research limitations/implications: Only few interviews were conducted. Interviewees were biased as all were very proud of the bridge. This is a single case study of a “rare species”, not representing most megaprojects. Practical implications: To enhance project opportunity exploitation and increased benefits, the project owner (team) must continuously communicate about the project, also after project execution. Originality/value: This study contributes to a gap within the literature on the phenomenon “project opportunity exploitation”. This is a very rich case study and of a “rare species”.
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