Maude Brunet was awarded the IPMA Young Researcher Award 2017 for her doctoral research “The Governance of Major Public Infrastructure Projects”. The governance of major infrastructure projects is a subject of importance in project management, as it has been studied for many decades. Yet, many of those projects still have poor performance records. At the theoretical level, project governance has been studied mostly from rational, economic perspectives. Yet, a missing link was to study how actors translate and apply governance frameworks in practice. The aim of the research was to investigate how a governance framework for major public infrastructure projects is translated into practice.
The research strategy was a multiple-case study within the Quebec government. Four major infrastructure projects in the front-end phase have been studied, which had to comply with the Quebec governance framework for public infrastructure projects. Using a set of approaches including non-participant observation during project meetings, semi-structured interviews and a documentation analysis, the main analysis strategy consisted of using grounded theory.
The results of her doctoral thesis are structured around three articles. The first article, published in the International Journal of Project Management, is conceptual and investigates the relevance of a governance framework for major public projects using phronetic and abductive theory building. The second article, forthcoming in the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, investigates the process of translation of an institutionalized governance framework to its implementation in practice, based on a case study of one public infrastructure project in the health sector in Quebec, Canada. The third article advances a conceptualization for governance-as-practice based on current developing streams of process and practice studies, including strategy-as-practice and project-as-practice.
Maude is a PhD Candidate in management, with a specialization in project management, at the School of Business and Management, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Her doctoral research has benefited from funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the ESG UQAM Chair in Project Management.