Cost–benefit Analysis, Planning and Innovation
Edited by Hugo Priemus, Bent Flyvbjerg and Bert van Wee
Chapter 6: How to Improve the Early Stages of Decision-making on Mega-Projects?
6. How to improve the early stages of decision-making on mega-projects Hugo Priemus 6.1 INTRODUCTION The research on decision-making in mega-projects tends to be dominated by the problem of cost overruns and disappointing operating results (Flyvbjerg et al., 2003; Altshuler and Luberoﬀ, 2004; Pickrell, 1989; 1992; Morris and Hough, 1987; Short and Kopp, 2005; Bell, 1998; Wachs, 1989; 1990). This chapter will depart from this trend and explore another theme: the initial stages of decision-making on mega-projects. It is not uncommon in mega-projects for a solution to present itself early – the solution which suits the initiators and which then heads oﬀ in search of a problem. Hence the process rarely begins with a proper analysis of the problems involved and an impartial appraisal of the alternatives. Often, in the earliest phases, we see lobby groups hard at work mobilising support for a particular solution that is thought to be superior. Feasible alternatives are not even put forward, let alone analysed. Any alternatives proﬀered by opposing camps further down the line are usually too late. It is not unusual for the government to back the – supposedly superior – solution at an early stage. Alternatives suggested by others in later stages of the process are often whittled down to nothing. This chapter looks at the problem analysis at the initial stage of the decision-making process and at the general problem of alternatives that are not generated early on and are therefore mostly not given serious consideration. This chapter argues that, most of...
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