Project performance-an Emerging Constellation of Multiple Institutions
Paper in proceeding, 2017

Project performance is often conceptualised as a few quantitative and disjointed parameters, like the classical time, cost and quality triangle, or the balanced scorecard's four fragmented dimensions. Rarely, is sociological theory mobilized to appreciate the complexity of a project's performance. However, a design-build project's performance can be conceptualized through the lens of institutional work and as a result, be understood as an emerging constellation of multiple institutions. To understand potential relationships between institutional processes and project performance, an ex-post study was conducted of two completed design-build projects. The ex-post study was based on interviews carried out with key participants from the two design-build projects. While each project developed multiple relationships between institutions over the course of the project, the projects were characterized by particular constellations of institutions which we denote 'settled domination' and 'conflict and competition'. Settled domination resulted in project performance that pre-dominantly satisfied the dominant institutions while project participants expected and more-or-less accepted that remaining institutions were compromised. Conflict and competition resulted in project performance characterized by a mix of compromised and uncompromised institutions. Overall, the two projects show that project performance is an emerging qualitative concept that gradually settles during the aftermath of the building phase.

institutional process

institutional work

project performance


Christian Koch

Architecture and Civil Engineering

Lea Urup

MT Højgaard

Chan, P W and Neilson, C J (Eds) Proceeding of the 33rd Annual ARCOM Conference, 4-6 September 2017, Cambridge, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management.

9780995546318 (ISBN)

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Civil Engineering



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9/6/2018 2