Sense-making as a process within complex service-led projects

Neil Alderman, Chris Ivory, Ian McLoughlin, Roger Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Sense-making is a well-established perspective in strategic management and organization studies but to date has had little impact on the analysis of project management theory and practice. In this paper, we draw upon insights from the sense-making literature to consider the management of complex long-term service-led engineering projects, which combine the supply of capital goods or infrastructure with a long-term service provision. Using a case study of the Pendolino tilting train, we illustrate how significant discontinuities gave rise to the need for sense-making by the different project participants and stakeholders and how the various narratives expressed by different social groupings shaped the management and progress of the project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-385
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005


  • Complexity
  • Narratives
  • Pendolino
  • Sense-making
  • Service-led projects

Cite this