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The leading small group: an institutional innovation for PPP projects in China

Yajian Zhang ( National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment , Singapore)
Willie Tan ( National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment , Singapore)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 19 September 2018

Issue publication date: 11 April 2019

Downloads
201

Abstract

Purpose

It is widely recognized that large-scale public–private partnership (PPP) projects require an effective coordination mechanism among various stakeholders throughout the project life cycle. The purpose of this paper is to provide an insight into how this may be achieved through the leading small group (LSG), which is a distinctive informal Chinese institution for coordination among various public agencies.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth case study using secondary data and five in-depth interviews with two staff members from the developer and three government officials involved is used to probe into how the LSG functions during the various development phases of the Yangzhou Teda Waste-to-Energy project.

Findings

The main finding is that, conditional on its capacity, the LSG coordinated various public agencies to promote fast project implementation and ensure its smooth operation by making high-level decisions, facilitating quick permits and approvals, and mitigating the risks. However, formalization and participation from other stakeholders are needed to ensure good governance.

Research limitations/implications

Because it is an exploratory case study, the findings cannot be readily generalized. Further research can be done to compare the performance of LSGs in different Chinese cities and PPP projects.

Practical implications

It is supposed that this paper can provide implications of designing effective coordination mechanisms for managing large-scale PPP projects.

Originality/value

This paper provides an account of the LSG as a distinctive Chinese coordination mechanism that has been rarely studied.

Keywords

Citation

Zhang, Y. and Tan, W. (2019), "The leading small group: an institutional innovation for PPP projects in China", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 291-301. https://doi.org/10.1108/BEPAM-12-2017-0132

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited