Degree Name

Master of Management - Research


School of Management, Operations and Marketing


This study contributes to the understanding of the selection decision-making process as it applies to project management teams. It particularly focuses on the elements that influence selection decisions in alliance mega-project structures. It uses a significant Australian infrastructure mega project as a case and through a retroductive approach, which combines elements from deductive and inductive research (Downward & Mearman 2007) examines what is going on in the selection process for the hiring of the senior leadership team. Although people selection is commonplace in business, and businesses are more and more using project structures, the nuanced rationale of this study and its value lies is in asking what does the selection of project leadership teams mean - apart from the obvious (Alvesson 2003)?

Decision-making literature recognises the critical role that organisational context plays in providing antecedent conditions for decisions. This study examines the situational, environmental and contextual settings in which project leadership team selections decisions are incubated.

This study shows that complex factors influence the way senior leaders are chosen for mega infrastructure projects. Orthodox selection processes do not adequately explain how such appointments are made. This study, using a combination of semi-structured interviews, documentary evidence and insider observations of the project leadership team formation processes, asserts that latent factors affect selection decisions more so than the espoused traditional selection techniques. These latent factors, such as the relative power of key stakeholders, the commitment of key decision makers to long term learning from alliance partners, and the nature of the relationship between alliance partners, are rarely considered, often taken for granted, and difficult to measure but they are powerful forces that need to be considered in selection decision making processes in mega infrastructure projects.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.