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A cross-national comparison of public project benefits management practices–the effectiveness of benefits management frameworks in application

Cooke-Davies, Terry; Williams, Terry; Vo, Hang; Bourne, Mike; Bourne, Pippa; Cooke- Davies, Terry; Kirkham, Richard; Masterton, Gordon; Quattrone, Paolo; Valette, Jason


Terry Cooke-Davies

Hang Vo

Mike Bourne

Pippa Bourne

Terry Cooke- Davies

Richard Kirkham

Gordon Masterton

Paolo Quattrone

Jason Valette


© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Benefits are the principal reason why an organization may seek to enact change through programmes and projects. The discipline of identification, definition, planning, tracking and realization of benefits is recognized to be instrumental in achieving organizational strategy. In this study, we describe the results of a cross-national comparison of public sector benefits management (BM) practices in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. It explores ‘BM practices in action’, considering to what extent ‘espoused’ or ‘mandated’ frameworks are actually practised and perceived by their users. Employing qualitative analysis, semi-structured interview data were analysed from 46 participants with experience in sponsoring, managing and/or reviewing government projects. The results expose considerable variation in the adoption and standardization of BM frameworks from inter and intragovernmental perspectives. We evidence a strong focus on benefits identification across the data set, specifically at the outset (the business case stage seeking project approval) and observe deterioration in focus as the project or programme progresses through the authorization (or assurance) approval gates towards close-out and operations. The results further emphasize the prominence of political interest, leadership buy-in, a benefits-driven culture and a transparent benefits reporting mechanism in the implementation of ‘effective’ BM frameworks.


Cooke-Davies, T., Williams, T., Vo, H., Bourne, M., Bourne, P., Cooke- Davies, T., …Valette, J. (2020). A cross-national comparison of public project benefits management practices–the effectiveness of benefits management frameworks in application. Production planning & control, 31(8), 644-659.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 28, 2019
Publication Date Jun 10, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2021
Journal Production Planning and Control
Print ISSN 0953-7287
Electronic ISSN 1366-5871
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 8
Pages 644-659
Keywords Project benefits; Project outcomes; Benefits management; Benefits realisation; Public projects
Public URL


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