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Boundary action in construction projects: new collaborative project practices

Tina Karrbom Gustavsson (Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)
Hayar Gohary (Akademiska Hus, Stockholm, Sweden)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 15 June 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Traditional construction project practice has been based on rigid and impermeable boundaries that have made communication, cooperation and integration a major challenge. However, new collaborative approaches have been developed. This paper aims at adding to knowledge on projects‐as‐practice by interpreting findings from a case study on a contemporary collaborative construction project. The purpose of this paper is to provide knowledge about organizational development in the project‐based construction industry by identifying boundary actions in contemporary collaborative construction practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an exploratory longitudinal case study approach covering both early design phase and the following production phase, including interviews, participant observation at formal meetings and informal gatherings and internal and external documents. Thus, the methodology used is triangulation and the analysis has followed an interpretative process.

Findings

The paper provides empirical insights into three examples of boundary actions of a collaborative construction project: stakeholder boundary action, professional boundary action and geographical boundary action. From a project‐as‐practice perspective, these boundary actions turn out to be interesting renewal initiatives, providing increased understanding of where and how renewal can take place.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on a single case study and more research on this area is needed. However, the paper shows examples of boundary actions in a contemporary project and thus adds to the knowledge on contemporary projects‐as‐practice.

Practical implications

The paper provides implications for construction project managers on examples of renewal arenas.

Originality/value

The paper is exploratory and the findings are important for much needed development and renewal of the construction industry.

Keywords

Citation

Karrbom Gustavsson, T. and Gohary, H. (2012), "Boundary action in construction projects: new collaborative project practices", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 364-376. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538371211235272

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited