Partnering in the construction industry - Problems and opportunities
Journal article, 2010
During recent years partnering has been on the top of the management agenda in the construction industry. Despite this attention there is limited and partly contradicting evidence of the impact of these efforts. The objective of this literature-based paper is to explore why it has been difficult to realise potential partnering benefits on the strategic level, while partnering in individual projects has improved construction performance. The analysis builds on a comparison of the features of business relationships in construction with the characteristics of so called 'high-involvement relationships' based on close cooperation. It is concluded that prevailing supply arrangements established to handle the particular conditions in the construction industry makes it unlikely for partnering to reach outside the individual project. Taking the step to strategic partnerships would require modification of some of the basic assumptions and norms of industry efficiency. On the basis of this analysis we explore potential consequences of modifications of current behaviour with respect to decentralisation and competitive tendering. The paper is finalised with a suggestion for a differentiated approach to partnering.