Developing collaborative contracting - three railway project cases
Paper in proceedings, 2011
Collaborative contracting models are often associated with a set of tools and techniques to manage relationships, but the efficiency of such formalization in changing project culture has been doubted. Further, although many projects are successful, collaboration often is more limited than policies and guidelines suggest. In this paper, we view partnering practice as a learning process related to a management innovation and analyse how collaboration practice develops in three major railway projects, all using the same partnering model. We find that partnering is easy to introduce due to the flexibility and adaptability of the concept, but that practitioners prefer to keep collaboration informal and groups small. Also, tangible benefits can often be reached with basic and common-sense approaches. When ambitions and complexity increase, however, more sophisticated relationship management becomes inevitable, calling also for integration with core project processes. Yet, partnering tools and systems do not seem to provide much guidance when it comes to organizing such complex multiparty collaboration. Findings suggest that shortcomings relating to organizational issues are underestimated as causes of conflicts and inefficiencies.