Article on Megaprojects and Postmodernism
By Dr Rodney Turner
London School of Economics
Project management has traditionally been based on a modernist perspective. However, since the 1960s, postmodernism has been proposed as an alternative view. Postmodernism does not replace modernism, but overlays alternative choices. In this article I explore what a postmodernist perspective means for megaprojects. I discuss the differences between modernism and postmodernism, and then discuss some of the consumer choices that emerge from a postmodernist view. I then describe some of the consequences of postmodernism for megaprojects. As an example I use the project HS2 in the UK. Projects need to do marketing, (Turner & Lecoeuvre, 2017), and the best way to do marketing is be telling stories. I discuss why that is and how projects can tell stories. In the last section, I discuss a related issue relating to external stakeholders. Megaprojects can destroy communities and cause people to lose their identities, which can have severe psychological impacts.