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A relationship approach to construction supply chains

Peter R. Davis (Faculty of the Built Environment Art and Design, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 21 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to establish the influence that relationship variables have on construction supply chains. The objective is to show where thoughtful use of relationship marketing (RM) techniques can benefit construction supply chains.


A questionnaire developed from a focus group outcome and literature concerning RM was used to extract information about commitment, trust and satisfaction in upstream and downstream construction supply chain relationships. A cohort of 898 construction industry managers developed from several comprehensive sample frames responded to the questionnaire. Data was analysed using exploratory and non‐parametric confirmatory statistical techniques, including Spearman's ρ non‐parametric correlation matrix, Kruskal‐Wallis test, Mann‐Whitney U test and principal axis factor analysis.


The results indicate that construction actors differentiate between relationship and traditional marketing factors in their supply chain activities. It is shown they engender specific RM techniques in their construction project environment.

Practical implications

RM has the potential to provide organisations with significant supply chain benefits, particularly long‐term value to clients. Benefit may manifest from commitment, trust and satisfaction. These three variables are all fundamental to supply chain activities.


The paper uses a RM knowledge base to develop an increased understanding of supply chain benefit variables. The value of the paper is that it enables construction stakeholders with the tools to develop long‐term relationships in their heterogeneous construction environment.



Davis, P.R. (2008), "A relationship approach to construction supply chains", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 108 No. 3, pp. 310-327.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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