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“Can We Seal the Deal?†: An Examination of Uncertainty in the Development Process


  • Shelley McDonough Kimelberg

    (Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA,


Studies of firm location decisions suggest that an organization’s desire to reduce the uncertainty associated with operating in a new or unfamiliar location plays a role in determining where it will choose to locate. To date, however, little attention has been paid to the experience of uncertainty in the preoperational phase (i.e., during the development process). When the development process in a given municipality is rife with ambiguity or unpredictability, it may deter firms from moving there, even if the location is attractive on the basis of its long-term operating economics. This study draws on in-depth interviews to explore how real estate professionals experience uncertainty while navigating the development process. The findings reveal that real estate professionals’ conceptualizations of uncertainty reflect five related, but distinct, themes: municipal support, community opposition, process, cost, and feasibility.

Suggested Citation

  • Shelley McDonough Kimelberg, 2010. "“Can We Seal the Deal?†: An Examination of Uncertainty in the Development Process," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 24(1), pages 87-96, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ecdequ:v:24:y:2010:i:1:p:87-96

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    Cited by:

    1. Shelley M. Kimelberg & Elizabeth Williams, 2013. "Evaluating the Importance of Business Location Factors: The Influence of Facility Type," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 92-117, March.


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