University of Oulu

Aaltonen, K., Gotcheva, N., Kujala, J. and Artto, K. (2019), "Making sense of an innovation in a safety-critical megaproject", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 520-542.

Making sense of an innovation in a safety-critical megaproject

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Author: Aaltonen, Kirsi1; Gotcheva, Nadezhda; Kujala, Jaakko1;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2School of Science, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-12-04


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.

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Series: International journal of managing projects in business
ISSN: 1753-8378
ISSN-E: 1753-8386
ISSN-L: 1753-8378
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Pages: 520 - 542
DOI: 10.1108/IJMPB-03-2019-0060
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 222 Other engineering and technologies
Copyright information: © Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.