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Balasubramani, M, Mahalingam, A and Scott, W R (2020) Imitation and adaptation: lessons from a case study of a metro rail project in India. Construction Management and Economics, 38(04), 364–82.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Project governance; contingent governance; institutions; practice-based view of governance; project shaping;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0144-6193
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2019.1619932
  • Abstract:
    Oversight arrangements which articulate technical, contractual and organizational decisions in a project domain constitute project governance. In the light of rapid globalization and an increasing number of complex, pluralistic and heterogeneous projects, the need for contingent project governance arrangements which bridge both stability and temporality of project decisions is emphasized in the literature. Nevertheless, inadequate attention has been paid to study how these governance arrangements are actually set up on contemporary projects. We use a combination of institutions-based and practice-based lenses to develop arguments on how governance arrangements are initially selected and replicated or revised, thereby leading to the emergence of order in project governance structures. We gather empirical evidence by qualitatively studying the shaping of project governance structures in a metro rail project in India. Our data show how the project promoters drew from the Delhi Metro’s governance structures to make technical, contractual and organizational decisions in the Chennai Metro, and then contested or stabilized these structures within the project field through situated interactions. Consequently, we identify 11 underlying mechanisms of sustenance and change of governance arrangements and project norms. By bridging both generic and contextual governance perspectives, the study underlines the role of situated “governing” in (re)creating governance structures.