To build or not to build? Mobilization of uncertainty arguments in public decision-making on private megaprojects

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megaproject planning. In this context, only a few studies have focussed on governing and the mobilization of uncertainty arguments in communication between government actors and private developers either in favour of or against megaprojects. The purpose of this article is to shed light on how private megaproject proposals progress towards political acceptance or rejection in public decision-making. Design/methodology/approach: This process of public decision-making on private megaproject proposals is examined in the case of the Helsinki–Tallinn undersea rail tunnel. In line with the interpretive research tradition, the authors’ study draws on a qualitative methodology underpinned by social constructionism. The research process can be characterized as abductive. Findings: The authors’ findings suggest that while public decision-making on megaprojects is a conflictual and dynamic process, some types of uncertainty are relatively more important in affecting the perceived feasibility of the projects in the eyes of public sector decision-makers. Originality/value: This study contributes to the debate on uncertainty management in megaprojects, proposing a new type of uncertainty – uncertainty about privateness – which has not been explicitly visible thus far.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-262
Number of pages28
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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