Success DNA of a Record-Breaking Megaproject

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Construction Engineering and Management - ASCE
Issue number8
Online published9 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


After 8 years of construction, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge (HZMB) came into use in October 2018. The HZMB is currently the world’s longest oversea bridge. The HZMB is technically demanding for both the physical conditions and the stringent environmental protection measures. In addition, the involvement of three regional governments gave rise to complex coordination and communication issues. All these challenges called for supereffective project management. Notwithstanding, notable accomplishments were reported and more than 450 patents were obtained. For example, the rapid island formation technology used greatly shortened the construction period and saved cost. The project can be identified as a showcase of the latest oversea bridge construction technology. To unveil the success DNA of this record-breaking megaproject, an in-depth case study was conducted. While many reported case studies on the HZMB project have focused on the technical aspects, this case study takes a project management perspective. Through structured interviews, the HZMB project team members commented that the project reputation evaluation system (PRES) used in the project incentivized the contractors’ performance through building an interorganizational relationship (IOR). This observation is in line with the proposition advocated in the IOR literature— an enhanced relationship has a positive effect on project performance. The comment of the project team member is further supported by the analyses of 28 sets of quarterly PRES evaluation scores that are reflective of IOR determinants. This study concludes that: (1) the PRES is an instrumental project management tool, and (2) one of the functions of the PRES is building IOR. The theoretical framework and empirical evidence showcase exemplary project management. Accordingly, it is further recommended that for megaprojects: (1) monetary reward cannot be the singular performance motivator, (2) IOR maintenance should be one of the planning foci of incentivization, and (3) there is no substitute for seamless communication in project management.

Research Area(s)

  • Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge project, Project control, Incentivization