Analyzing railway Public-Private Partnership practices through project management theories: Towards efficient risk mitigation

Markus Majanen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Public sector often lacks expertise and knowledge to implement Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) successfully. To manage PPPs efficiently, government officials need guidance how to apply PPPs in different sectors of the society. However, sector specific PPP guidance is scarce. In particular, practical information about railway sector PPPs is hard to find. At the same time, interest toward these special vehicles for the implementation of new ‘green’ public policies is increasing among governments. Hence, the aim of this study was to provide a railway sector specific PPP guidance for public sector workers by examining project management practices. Methodologically each project was divided into three phases (preparation and promotion, construction and operating phase) according to Griffith-Jones typology of specific risks in large infrastructure projects. Next, the mitigation practices of phase specific risks were analyzed through project management theories, Traditional Project Management (TPM) and CPM (CPM). As a result, best practices emerged from those mechanisms, techniques, elements and principles explaining efficient risk mitigation in projects. In the preparation and promotion phase, importance of defining full project scope and clarifying project objectives were highlighted as efficient risk mitigation practices. In the construction phase, project context appeared to be dynamic highlighting change management and alliancing practices. In the operating phase, shared financial risks and a flexible contract appeared to be the key elements behind the success. These results indicate that railway PPPs are subject to uncertainties, thus project managers should embrace change management practices. Analytical method used here will be useful for future studies aimed at providing PPP best practices in other sectors of the society in order to educate public workers participating in PPPs.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages74