To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Developing a supplier’s third-party relationships and cooperation in project networks

Miia Martinsuo (Department of Industrial Management, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland)
Rami Sariola (Department of Industrial Management, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding on the emergence of mutually beneficial relationships between component suppliers and third parties in projects, and their interaction practices in the project and potential new services.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative, exploratory research strategy is employed in the context of construction projects, with construction component manufacturers as the focal component suppliers. In total 22 interviews were conducted with structural engineers and architects as relevant third parties, to discover the specifics of component suppliers’ third-party relationship development in construction projects.

Findings

The results show the crucial role of third parties in the constructor’s and customer’s decision-making process, and various ways for component suppliers to develop the relationship toward the third parties. The results offer important knowledge about the cooperation between construction component suppliers and third parties and means to increase the centrality of component suppliers in the project network.

Research limitations/implications

The research was delimited to structural engineers and architects as third parties in construction projects in one country. Further research is encouraged on third-party cooperation in other kinds of project networks, other kinds of third parties, and the various forms of triadic cooperation in project networks.

Practical implications

The results encourage component suppliers to take a proactive approach in developing relationships with third parties, when strengthening their network position. The paper introduces practical ways in which component suppliers may take action toward generating powerful main contractor-supplier-third-party triads.

Originality/value

Limited research attention has been directed at third parties and triadic cooperation in project networks. This paper offers important knowledge about the relationship between component suppliers and third parties, particularly in terms of third parties’ expectations and practical initiatives to enhance the relationships.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was conducted in the Future Industrial Services (FutIS) research program, managed by the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (FIMECC), and funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES), research institutes and companies. Their support is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also thank the interviewees for their support, and the discussants at the Nordic Academy of Management conference and the reviewers for helpful comments to earlier versions of this paper.

Citation

Martinsuo, M. and Sariola, R. (2015), "Developing a supplier’s third-party relationships and cooperation in project networks", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 74-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-10-2013-0058

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited