Once Bitten, Twice Shy: How Anxiety and Political Blame Avoidance Cause a Downward Spiral of Trust and Control in the Aftermath of Failed Public Projects

Freek J.F.W. van Berkel, Julie E. Ferguson, Peter Groenewegen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The present study of an infrastructure project shows how anxiety of repeated organizational failure instigates stronger stakeholder control. This control frustrated the project organization’s efforts to gain trustworthiness, hampering project completion. The study also shows how the public demonstration of stakeholder control was used to curb reputation loss or to preemptively attribute blame. In this way, control inhibits trust relations between supposedly cooperating project partners. We contribute to the debates on political avoidance of reputation loss and trust–control interrelations by showing how the aftereffects of failure (anxiety and avoidance) limit the effectiveness of control as a means to repair trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-580
Number of pages36
JournalAdministration and Society
Volume51
Issue number4
Early online date24 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

Fingerprint

anxiety
cause
reputation
stakeholder
project organization
trustworthiness
Anxiety
Avoidance
Public project
infrastructure
Stakeholders

Keywords

  • control
  • organizational failure
  • political blame avoidance
  • public projects
  • trust

Cite this

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Once Bitten, Twice Shy : How Anxiety and Political Blame Avoidance Cause a Downward Spiral of Trust and Control in the Aftermath of Failed Public Projects. / van Berkel, Freek J.F.W.; Ferguson, Julie E.; Groenewegen, Peter.

In: Administration and Society, Vol. 51, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 545-580.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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