Reproduction of exchange relationships: Changing focus from organisations to individuals
Paper in proceedings, 2012

That organisations collaborate on a firm to firm basis is an assumption which underpins much of the literature on inter-organisational relationships and supply chain integration, both in the generic literature as well as in the construction oriented. The exchange relationships on an organisational level, however, are constituted of one or several interactions on interpersonal level. With the interpersonal level as unit of analysis, this paper aims to answer how dyadic exchange relationships are produced and reproduced. Investigation of dyadic exchange relationships between contractors and subcontractors has been conducted through 15 interviews with site managers from the contractors and foremen from the subcontractors. Findings show that the individuals within both dyads of the exchange relationship play important roles in the outcome of the project and the specific relationship. Despite this, the organisational focus of procurement of subcontractors tends to be highly price-driven. Site managers and subcontractors’ foremen, however, tend to bypass the price-driven procurement approaches by offering their preferred counterparts possibilities to recalculate their quotations and adapting prices according to individuals. By narrowing the range of procured subcontractors and focusing on the use of core teams based on matching of individuals within the teams, a potential improvement in the construction supply chain can be seen. By changing the focus of the concurrent research within construction management from organisational level towards interpersonal level, new perspectives may also be elucidated and exchange relationships between contractors and subcontractors might be better understood and explained.

Contractor-supplier relations

Inter-organisational relationships

Supply chain integration


interpersonal relationships


Mikael Frödell

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Management

Per-Erik Josephson

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Management

Proceedings of the Joint CIB International Conference: Management of Construction: Research to Practice, 26-29 June 2012, Montreal, Canada

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


Subject Categories

Construction Management

Other Civil Engineering



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