Recasting coordination: A theoretical review in the context of design-build project organisations
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Coordination, and the lack of it, is frequently ascribed as a key role in successful and less successful building processes. Over the last four decades, the understanding of coordination has shifted from emphasizing formal structures to emphasizing informal mechanisms. A review of four articles shows this development as well as how the formal and informal structures and mechanisms relate. The review is done from a perspective of a large design-build project in Denmark. The review indicates, that formal and informal coordination mechanisms alone are not sufficient to explain coordination in practice. The main coordination mechanisms discussed are mutual adjustment, direct supervision, standardization, relational coordination, adaptive capacity, and IT as a tool to accomplish task and impose a chronological rhythm and schedule on the work processes. From this point of departure a new set of coordination mechanisms for practice is developed rooted in current institutional theory. The mechanisms are internal building of an institution and external building of relationships between a number of institutions. The conclusion is that existing literature on coordination does not fully describe the complexity of coordination in an institutionalised design-build organisation and that a new set of coordination mechanisms rooted in institutional theory contributes to our understanding of complex coordination.