Corruption in public projects and megaprojects: There is an elephant in the room!

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Abstract

Despite the relevance of corruption in project selection, planning and delivery, the project management literature pays little attention to this crucial phenomenon. This paper sets the background to foster the discussion concerning how to select, plan and deliver infrastructure in corrupt project contexts. It presents the different types of corruptions and the characteristics of projects that are more likely to suffer from it. Corruption is particularly relevant for large and uncommon projects where the public sector acts as client/owner or even as the main contractor. Megaprojects are “large unique projects” where public actors play a key role and are very likely to be affected by corruption. Corruption worsens both cost and time performance, and the benefits delivered. This paper leverages the institutional theory to introduce the concept of “corrupt project context” and, using the case study of the Italian high-speed railways, shows the impact of a corrupt context on megaprojects.

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Locatelli, G., Mariani, G., Sainati, T., & Greco, M. (2017). Corruption in public projects and megaprojects: There is an elephant in the room! International Journal of Project Management, 35(3), 252–268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2016.09.010

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