Creating relationship continuity across projects in the construction industry

Malena Ingemansson Havenvid (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Elsebeth Holmen (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Åse Linné (Department of Engineering Sciences, Division of Industrial Engineering and Management, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)
Ann-Charlott Pedersen (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

IMP Journal

ISSN: 0809-7259

Publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship continuity across projects among actors in the construction industry, and to discuss why and how such continuity takes place.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on the results from four in-depth case studies illustrating different strategies for pursuing relationship continuity. The results are analysed and discussed in light of the oft-mentioned strategies suggested by Mintzberg (1987): emergent, deliberate and deliberately emergent strategies. Furthermore, the ARA-model is used to discuss why the relationship continuity strategies are pursued, and which factors might enable and constrain the relationship continuity.

Findings

The main findings are twofold. First, the authors found that the strategy applied for pursuing relationship continuity may, in one-time period, contain one type of strategy or a mix of strategy types. Second, the type of strategy may evolve over time, from one type of strategy being more pronounced in one period, to other strategies being more pronounced in later periods. The strategies applied by construction firms and their counterparts can thus contain elements of emergent, deliberate and deliberately emergent strategies, in varying degrees over time. It is also shown that the strategies of the involved actors co-evolve as a result of interaction. Also, the main reasons for pursuing continuity appear to lie in the re-use and development of important resources and activities across projects to create efficiency and the possibility to develop mutual orientation, commitment and trust over time, and thus reduce uncertainty.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical studies are needed to support the findings. For managers, the main implication is that relationship continuity can arise as part of an emerging interaction pattern between firms or as part of a planned strategy, but that elements of both might be needed to sustain it.

Originality/value

The authors combine Mintzberg’s strategy concepts with the ARA-model to bring new light to the widely debated issue of discontinuity and fragmentation in the construction industry.

Keywords

Citation

Havenvid, M., Holmen, E., Linné, . and Pedersen, A. (2017), "Creating relationship continuity across projects in the construction industry", IMP Journal, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 207-229. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMP-07-2016-0015

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.