Strategic intent and the management of infrastructure systems

Change log
Blom, CM 
Guthrie, PM 

jats:p Infrastructure forms an enduring and evolving system of services, assets, projects and networks. This paper presents an overview of research into the misalignment between the strategic intent and the management of those systems. The research draws from experiences across infrastructure sectors and countries to frame the problem and then uses central and local government transportation organisations from New Zealand to explore the problem in more detail. Although infrastructure does not often fail catastrophically, there is an inability to deliver appropriate and relevant infrastructure outcomes fully over the long term. This paper presents the cross-case analysis of three detailed studies that explored this issue through three different lenses by investigating three key life-cycle/organisational transitions at the system rather than at the project level. The research has identified a pressing need for ‘system stewardship’ to address the increased specialisation and siloed operation within current practice. This boundary spanning function/culture is needed to deliver not only ‘joined-up thinking’, but also organisational learning and the ongoing transformation of the complexed asset–service–organisational–contextual system in response to ongoing change. </jats:p>

management, municipal & public service engineering, public policy
Journal Title
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering Sustainability
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Thomas Telford Ltd.
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Anguillid Consulting Engineers and Scientists Ltd, New Zealand Transport Agency, Auckland Transport, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University Engineering Department (Ford of Britain Trust), and DR R McDowall.