Title: An application of the theory of collective action to large-scale international science projects: managing the enlargement of the fusion community from 11 to 35 countries

Authors: Marco Vincenzi; Barry Shore

Addresses: Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire, 10 Garrison Avenue, Durham, NH, 03824, USA ' Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire, 10 Garrison Avenue, Durham, NH, 03824, USA

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show that the theory of collective action provides plausible solutions to mitigate the appropriability problem in the management of large-scale international science projects (LISPs). First, this paper presents a comparative case study of two LISPs in nuclear fusion: the successes of the Joint European Torus (JET) project and the shortfalls of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. Second, it applies the 'break-fix' model to ITER to identify seven management issues that caused its scientific progress to reach the 'breaking point', and to introduce seven design principles derived from the theory of collective action in an attempt to 'fix' its problems. Third, this paper outlines seven practical managerial applications of the theory of collective action that provide insightful contributions to the discipline of megaproject management.

Keywords: large-scale international science projects; LISPs; Joint European Torus; JET; International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor; ITER; payoff rules; break-fix model; collective action; appropriability problem; authority rules; boundary rules; aggregation rules; position rules; information rules; scope rules.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2020.110122

International Journal of Technology Management, 2020 Vol.83 No.4, pp.228 - 245

Accepted: 03 Jul 2020
Published online: 23 Sep 2020 *

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