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Influencing factors on inter-organizational trust asymmetry behavior in construction projects: Evidence from China

Yijing Li (Department of Management and Economics, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)
Nan He (Department of Public Administration, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)
Huimin Li (Department of Construction Engineering and Management, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)
Ziqi Liu (Xiaolangdi Project Construction and Management Center, Zhengzhou, China)
Jianyun Qi (Department of Water Conservancy, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 17 December 2019

Issue publication date: 3 February 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, determining which factors critically influence asymmetrical trust behaviors in construction projects within the Chinese context; second, proposing corresponding measures to deal with the asymmetrical behaviors of both the owner and the contractor promoting cooperative relationships among participants in construction organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model was developed and a questionnaire survey was conducted with 183 professionals. The data collected were analyzed by the structural equation modeling (SEM) technique.

Findings

The results identified six critical factors influencing trust asymmetry behavior in construction projects. The power imbalance, information asymmetry and cognitive difference have a positive influence on both upward-trust behavior and downward-trust behavior in the construction organization, while the competence, performance capacity and relationship satisfaction have negative effects.

Research limitations/implications

This paper based on the assumption that trust asymmetry behavior has a negative impact on project performance, which should be further studied. Besides, future research may carry out a comparative analysis among the trusting relationships and behavior of different participants dynamically.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature in three aspects. First, the factors influencing trust behavior in project organization have been identified for the first time. Second, a comprehensive view of trust asymmetry behavior has been theorized by SEM method. Third, the result bridges the existing gap caused by the lack of empirical evidence to understand the genetic mechanisms of trust asymmetry behavior in the construction industry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge with gratitude the MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Project of Humanities and Social Sciences (No. 19YJC630078), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71302191), National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFC0406905), Youth Talents Teachers Scheme of Henan Province Universities (No. 2018GGJS080), the Foundation for Distinguished Young Talents in Higher Education of Henan (Humanities and Social Sciences), China (No. 2017-cxrc-023) and PhD Innovation Fund by North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power. This study would not have been possible without their financial support.

Citation

Li, Y., He, N., Li, H., Liu, Z. and Qi, J. (2021), "Influencing factors on inter-organizational trust asymmetry behavior in construction projects: Evidence from China", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 308-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-05-2019-0256

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited