Something old, something new: Path dependence and path creation during the early stage of a project

Kirsi Aaltonen*, Tuomas Ahola, Karlos Artto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
204 Downloads (Pure)


Urban renewal projects involve several public and private stakeholders whose interaction during the project's early stage determines the scope of the project. Prior research has conveyed a somewhat ahistorical view of this early stage, based on the assumption that abundant design options are available to stakeholders. This study of a multi-stakeholder project, focused on the renewal of the commercial center of the historic garden city of Tapiola, seeks to increase understanding of processes of path dependence and path creation during the project's early stage. The findings show how a project and its stakeholders can be locked into a path that is affected by the stakeholders’ shared history. The findings further reveal how external triggering events, emergent stakeholder dynamics, and active individual agency contribute to change in the project's goals, enabling breaking of the shared path and the gradual creation of a new path.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-762
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Early project stage
  • Multi-stakeholder project
  • Path creation
  • Path dependence
  • Project stakeholder management
  • Tapiola garden city
  • Urban renewal project


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