Visualizations as Projection Devices: The Case of Negotiating Future Perfect Spaces for Hospital Design

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The aim of this paper is to inquire into the role of project visualizations in shaping healthcare spaces and practices. The study draws upon an ethnographic field study from a large on-going hospital construction project in Denmark, and focuses on the early phases of on-boarding the design team into the project organization. During the on-boarding visualizations multiplies in form, content and purpose, ranging from paper and digitally based projections of clinical work spaces and practices for the future hospital building in use, to paper and digitally based projections of the cost budget and time schedule for the hospital construction project. The study reveals how the visualizations are dynamically developed and linked to each other and their role in facilitating both control and innovation in project work and clinical work at the hospital.

The paper contributes to our understanding of the active role of visualizations in organizing projects, and more specifically, in articulating its future perfect. The study thus complements previous management- and organization research on project future perfect. More specifically, the theoretical contribution concerns the ways in which project visualizations plays an active role in developing novel conceptions of space and how these are mobilized in the process of on-boarding, in terms of; design space, physical space, organizational space and economic space. Our findings show the visualizations of different spaces and how they are dynamically connected to create projections of a future perfect, yet integral to this process a number of concerns emerges in the processes of designing and constructing the new hospital. These emergent concerns, in turn, have practical implications for the management of complex hospital construction projects. It will not be sufficient to rely on a conventional control approach. Instead what is required is a more dynamic and flexible network approach that can better facilitate innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventThe 23rd Nordic Academy of Management Conference. 2015: Business in Society - Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 12 Aug 201514 Aug 2015
Conference number: 23


ConferenceThe 23rd Nordic Academy of Management Conference. 2015
LocationCopenhagen Business School (CBS)
Internet address


  • Hospital construction
  • Healthcare innovation
  • Project spaces
  • On-boarding
  • Visualization

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