Chapter 1 Introduction to The Institutional Context of Public–Private Partnerships
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This chapter proposes conceptualizing the implementation of PPP as a form of institutionalization (Oliver, 1991), which is 'the process by which institutions are produced and reproduced' (Phillips et al., 2004, p. 638) and represents a 'social process by which individuals come to accept a shared definition of social reality' (Scott, 1987, p. 496) that can eventually lead to acceptance of PPP as an institutionalized form of project organizing. The study of institutionalization examines how institutions are created and transmitted, and how their maintenance and resistance to change are ensured (Oliver, 1991) through the establishment of strong regulatory pillars. These pillars provide the rule-setting, monitoring, or sanctioning to ensure reproduction of institutions (Scott, 2005), and the association of compelling and attractive values with the normative and cultural-cognitive pillars of institutions as well to justify their value (Scott, 2008). The process of institutionalization is often confronted with resistance when it threatens to either change or compromise the value of another institutionalized and well-established practice. For example, the institutionalization of PPP naturally threatens the pre-existing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model, which has its own deeply rooted regulative, normative, and cultural-cognitive characteristics. Also, a plethora of administrative, political and economic actors who have a habitual way of implementing projects, may enact strategies to block the implementation of PPPs.