This paper investigates how symmetrical learning activity is, between the public client and the private contractor in the contracting and operation of complex, long-term infrastructure projects. Drawing on empirical material from two United Kingdom (UK) private finance initiative (PFI) cases, the paper analyses differences in the absorptive capacity and learning capability between parties. It suggests the private contractor appears to be better equipped to acquire, embed and renew their learning. These findings reflect less than 5 years of a 30-year contract, suggesting a skewed (imbalanced) relationship, where the contractor gains more learning capabilities than the client. The paper concludes with implications for management practice and suggestions for future research directions.
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