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Effect of adoption of relational contracting practices on relationship quality in public projects in Singapore

Florence Y.Y. Ling (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore.)
Peng Chong Tan (Rider Levett Bucknall, Singapore.)
Yan Ning (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore.)
Albert Teo (Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore.)
Asanga Gunawansa (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore.)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate relational contracting (RC) practices that give rise to higher quality interpersonal relations between these pairs of stakeholders at the end of public projects: clients and contractors; contractors and consultants; and clients and consultants. It developed models to predict the level of quality of interpersonal relations between the stakeholders at the completion of public projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a set of questionnaire, data were collected from randomly selected construction industry practitioners who have had experience in public projects in Singapore. The data were analysed to identify association between the use of RC practices and quality of interpersonal relations between stakeholders. In-depth interviews with experts were conducted.

Findings

It was found that when certain RC practices were adopted to a larger extent, public projects also have significantly higher quality of interpersonal relations between clients, contractors and consultants. Three mathematical models were developed to predict the relationship quality between stakeholders at the end of the public project.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations include the subjective nature of the Likert scale that was used in answering the questionnaire survey and the limited number of interviews. The effect of existing good relations among stakeholders was not taken into account.

Practical implications

Suitable RC practices for adoption by public clients, contractors and consultants in public projects are recommended. These include developing deeper mutual trust and understanding, sharing project information, and having real gain-share/pain-share among contracting parties.

Originality/value

RC practices that are significantly associated with relationships among contracting parties in public projects in Singapore are uncovered. Contracting parties may use the recommendations to help enhance their relationships with one another in a public project.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research is supported by Singapore Ministry of Education’s Academic Research Fund Tier 2 funding (Grant number: MOE2009-T2-2-067) for the project entitled “Boosting public construction project outcomes through relational transactions”. Dr Yongjian Ke’s assistance in the questionnaire design is acknowledged with thanks.

Citation

Ling, F.Y.Y., Tan, P.C., Ning, Y., Teo, A. and Gunawansa, A. (2015), "Effect of adoption of relational contracting practices on relationship quality in public projects in Singapore", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 169-189. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-10-2013-0093

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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