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An island of constancy in a sea of change: rethinking project temporalities with long-term megaprojects

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journal contribution
posted on 08.06.2017, 09:27 by Naomi Brookes, Dan Sage, Andrew Dainty, Giorgio Locatelli, Jennifer Whyte
This paper examines the organizational phenomena of long-term projects. While research literature frames projects as “temporary organizations”, megaprojects have long initiation and delivery phases, lasting years sometimes decades, and deliver capital assets that are used for decades or centuries. Instead of short-duration activity within a fixed organizational context, these projects involve multiple temporalities, combining more and less temporary forms of organizing in the process of enactment. Using an example of a long-term infrastructural megaproject, a wind-farm, to illustrate the phenomenon, we contribute by articulating different temporalities associated with the delivery project, life-cycle; stakeholder organizations that set up the project; and special purpose vehicles through which it is delivered. Implications of these temporalities for project management research and practice are discussed with reference to understandings of risk and knowledge. We argue that focus on long-term projects and their multiple temporalities opens up new ways of thinking about projects as temporary organizations.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the ESF COST Action MEGAPROJECT TU1003 "The Effective Design and Delivery of Megaprojects in the European Union" (MEGAPROJECT).



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

International Journal of Project Management


BROOKES, N. ... et al., 2017. An island of constancy in a sea of change: rethinking project temporalities with long-term megaprojects. International Journal of Project Management, 35 (7), pp.1213–1224.


© Elsevier, APM and IPMA


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This paper was accepted for publication in the journal International Journal of Project Management and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2017.05.007