The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Ning Sun

Value co-creation in public projects: from a paradox perspective

School research theme: Management of projects
Research supervisor: Dr John Kelsey and Dr Jing Xu
Start date: 26 September 2022

The reputation of public projects has long been tainted by poor performance that brings about significant costs to society and environment. For example, statistical analyses suggested that nine out of ten transport infrastructure projects have cost overruns of between 50 to 100 percent. The key reasons for poor performance include 1) project value is narrowly defined and illy managed; 2) project owners lack capabilities to manage the paradoxes that jeopardise the value-cocreating efforts of various project stakeholders. For example, the project owner’s commercial interest can be contradictory to the collective interest to lower carbon emissions at the use stage. This research aims to investigate what paradoxes exist in public project delivery, how they emerge and evolve, and how project owners cope with them in the process of value co-creation. Comparative case studies in the UK and China will be conducted for a more comprehensive paradox identification in different national and cultural backgrounds. The research outcomes can guide governments and public organisations to achieve more sustainable project outcomes through effectively managing paradoxes and co-creating value with various stakeholders, which is closely aligned with the UN SDG 12, sustainable production and consumption.