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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Bon-Gang Hwang, Xianbo Zhao and Eileen Wei Yan Chin

The purposes of this paper is twofold: first, to assess the risks associated with the international construction joint ventures (ICJVs) between Singapore and developing…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this paper is twofold: first, to assess the risks associated with the international construction joint ventures (ICJVs) between Singapore and developing countries and second, to investigate the risk allocation preferences in these ICJVs.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was conducted and responses were received from 38 firms that had participated in ICJVs with developing countries. A risk criticality (RC) index was adopted to evaluate the criticality of each risk.

Findings

The survey results reported “political instability” as the most critical risk and market-level risks were less critical than country and project-level risks. Additionally, the results showed agreement on the risk ranking between building and infrastructure ICJVs, despite significant differences in the criticalities of five risks. Furthermore, five risks were preferably allocated to host and foreign partners, respectively, while 13 risks could be shared among partners.

Research limitations/implications

First, due to the sample size, one should be cautious when interpreting and generalizing the results. Second, the RC index proposed in this study was subjective as it was influenced by the individual experience and risk attitude of the respondents. Also, the RC values were calculated without considering the weights of the respondents. Lastly, the questionnaire survey, which has been widely used in identifying risk allocation preferences, may not identify the insights of practitioners into the risk allocation practices.

Practical implications

This study provides a clear understanding of the risks associated with forming ICJVs with developing countries and the preferred risk allocation. Although, this study is focused on the risks faced by the Singapore-developing country ICJVs, the identification of the potential risks allows companies from other countries to customize their risk profile and assess the risks before they form ICJVs with developing countries.

Originality/value

As few studies have explored the risk allocation preferences in ICJVs, this study expands the literature and provides practitioners with important information for preparing joint venture contracts or agreements. Thus, this study can contribute to the literature relating to ICJVs.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2018

Xiaopeng Deng, Sui Pheng Low, Xianbo Zhao and Tengyuan Chang

The purpose of this paper is to explore the micro-level variables contributing to political risks in international construction projects.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the micro-level variables contributing to political risks in international construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 25 micro-level variables were identified from the literature review, and a questionnaire survey was performed with 138 professionals from both academia and industry. Then, the Spearman rank correlation was used to test whether there was agreement on ranking between the two respondent groups. Furthermore, the 25 variables were grouped into six underlying factors through the exploratory factor analysis.

Findings

The results indicated that the most critical variables were “project desirability to the host country,” “relationship with governments,” “misconduct of contractors,” “public opposition to the project,” “experiential knowledge of political risks” and “advantageous conditions of contract.” In addition, the opinions within each group were consistent and there was no significant disagreement on the rankings of variables between academics and practitioners. However, the academic and practitioner groups held different opinions on some individual variables. The impact direction of the variables was associated with confusion among the respondents.

Originality/value

The findings presented in this paper can help international construction enterprises effectively manage political risks in international construction projects.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2019

Guangdong Wu, Zhibin Hu, Junwei Zheng, Xianbo Zhao and Jian Zuo

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between structure characteristics of project network, types of conflicts and project success.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between structure characteristics of project network, types of conflicts and project success.

Design/methodology/approach

Network density and centrality were used to reflect the structure characteristics of project network. This study collected 254 valid responses from construction professionals (including project managers, department managers and project engineers) via a questionnaire survey and analyzed the data using structural equation modeling and bootstrapping techniques.

Findings

The results showed that network centrality of project stakeholders negatively affected project success, whereas the effect of network density on project success was non-significant. The network density was positively related to task conflict, whereas negatively related to process and relationship conflict. Network centrality was positively related to relationship conflict and had negative effects on task and process conflict. Project conflicts served as the mediator, weakening the relationship between network structure characteristics and project success.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides direction for project managers and other stakeholders (e.g. owners, contractors and subcontractors) to appropriately establish social ties and manage conflicts to achieve project success. However, the potential influence of conflict transformation on project success, the dynamic nature of project networks and the network diagram were not addressed in the context of diverse culture. The future research should cover different stakeholders in order to get an integrative understanding of project networks and collect data from different cultural and industrial characteristics, extending and verifying the results.

Originality/value

The outcomes of the study provide evidence in regard to social network ties governance, which is comprised by the important or representative stakeholders, being a part of the effective strategy in improving project success. This study also contributes to the knowledge of conflict management in the project context, revealing the positive and negative of project conflicts and enriching the current understandings of the underlying mechanism of the project network characteristics on project success.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2021

Xin Wan, Yantong Zhang, Peng Mao, Hongyang Li, Rubing Wang, Xin Yi and Xianbo Zhao

Public participation is essential for mitigating local resistance faced by the environmentally stigmatized facilities. The purpose of this study is to investigate public…

Abstract

Purpose

Public participation is essential for mitigating local resistance faced by the environmentally stigmatized facilities. The purpose of this study is to investigate public participation intention in the decision-making of waste incineration power (WIP) projects by examining the role of perceived corporate social responsibility (PCSR) and public knowledge (PK) based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB).

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model correlating PCSR with public participation intention was developed by using the constructs of TPB as the mediators and PK as the moderator. Drawing on structural equation modeling (SEM), the data collected from 485 local residents of the WIP projects in Jiangsu, China were analyzed to test the model.

Findings

Companies' CSR practice went through public attitude, subjective norm and personal norm as mediating steps towards promoting participation intention. PK positively moderated the indirect relationships between PCSR and participation intention. Moreover, attitude, subjective norm and personal norm were found to have a positive effect on participation intention.

Originality/value

This study advances the understanding of public participation intention and enriches the literature relating to CSR and TPB involved in infrastructure development. In order to improve public participation intention, companies should take strategic social responsibility actions and present the benefits and moral values of the activities to the public, and as well make effort to diffuse WIP-related knowledge through interactive activities with the public. Authorities should establish social and personal value systems that praise public participation and improve their expectations of participation outcomes.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2021

Peng Yan, Junying Liu, Xianbo Zhao and Martin Skitmore

The objective of this research is to develop a decision method that can generate appropriate risk response strategies for international construction project managers (PMs…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this research is to develop a decision method that can generate appropriate risk response strategies for international construction project managers (PMs) and allow these strategies to reflect their different risk preferences.

Design/methodology/approach

The optimal model approach is adopted. A credibility-based fuzzy chance constrained programming (CFCCP) model is developed, which simultaneously minimizes the expected losses of risk events and total costs of risk response. To solve this multi-objective model, a fuzzy interactive solution method is used. Moreover, the model performance is demonstrated by a real international industrial plant project. In addition, a sensitivity analysis of the model is conducted.

Findings

The result of the sensitivity analysis indicates that PMs with a greater risk aversion can lead to a higher mitigation ratio of expected losses of risk events and a higher total cost of risk response.

Practical implications

This research provides contractors with an effective decision-making model to develop a project risk response plan, and it will assist contractors to minimize risk losses and enhance the project performance in the international construction market.

Originality/value

Previous studies overlook the risk preference, which is an important behavioral factor influencing decisions in risk response strategy selection. This research proposed a novel risk response strategy selection decision method that considers different attitudes toward risk among decision makers.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 26 March 2020

Guangdong Wu, Junwei Zheng, Xianbo Zhao and Jian Zuo

This study aims to investigate how the strength of ties (i.e. strong ties and weak ties) in megaproject networks influences project performance in terms of types of conflicts.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how the strength of ties (i.e. strong ties and weak ties) in megaproject networks influences project performance in terms of types of conflicts.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was undertaken with professionals in Chinese megaprojects and 445 valid responses were received. A conflict-based theoretical model was developed and tested with structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results indicated that task conflict had a constructive effect on project performance, whereas relationship conflict and process conflict had destructive effects. Both strong and weak ties positively affected project performance, and that weak ties exerted greater effects on performance. The introduction of conflicts significantly weakened the effect of strong ties on project performance. Strong ties indirectly affected project performance via task conflict and relationship conflict, whereas weak ties affected performance only through task conflict. Task conflict had a constructive effect on project performance, whereas relationship conflict and process conflict had destructive impact.

Research limitations/implications

This study identified the positive effect of strength of ties on project performance as well as the constructive and destructive roles of conflicts. Furthermore, the findings provided evidence that strength of ties and conflicts were critical factors for project performance. While, there are still limitations. There are other attributes of megaproject networks, such as network nodes’ characteristics and network structure, which may influence conflicts and project performance. Future research would be conducted to explore the role of these variables. Meanwhile, because different types of conflicts may mutually transform under certain conditions, future research would also address this issue in megaprojects.

Practical implications

As for the management strategies, project stakeholders should know the existence of project networks, exactly assess their resource endowment, especially their external and internal relationship network. In accordance with changes of the project network, stakeholders should share knowledge and learn techniques about how to respond to relationship disturbances, thus reducing relationship conflict and process conflict. Furthermore, stakeholders should place an emphasis on fostering and reinforcing communication and trust, thus effectively resolving task conflict, ambiguity and uncertainty engendered from network ties in a megaproject network.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this study is threefold. First, this study will enrich the literature on strength of ties by accentuating the roles of conflicts in megaproject context. Second, this study contributes to the theoretical development of a conceptual model for explaining the interrelationships among strength of ties, conflicts and project performance. Third, this study will respond to the call “which dimension, i.e. strong ties or weak ties, is more influential” by exploring the direct and indirect effects of strength of ties on project performance.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 December 2019

Weiping Jiang and Xianbo Zhao

The purpose of this paper is to explore the key factors in generating trust, and the effects of trust on the intention to cooperate in energy performance contracting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the key factors in generating trust, and the effects of trust on the intention to cooperate in energy performance contracting (EPC), from the perspective of energy saving companies (ESCOs).

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was undertaken to collect the data from the experienced project managers in ESCOs. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results revealed that competence, integrity, communication, reciprocity and contract had positive effects on calculative trust and relational trust. Both calculative trust and relational trust, in turn, were found to have positive effects on the intention to cooperate.

Research limitations/implications

The conclusions are derived from the Chinese cultural background and may apply to a certain geographical scope. In addition, this study focused on the perspective of ESCOs but did not consider that of facility owners.

Practical implications

This research would supply guidance for facility owners or users to cultivate trust from ESCOs and achieve cooperation in EPC.

Originality/value

Most of the existing studies have focused on the perspective of facility owners while few have attempted to investigate the perspective of ESCOs. This study contributes to the knowledge body relating to EPC by investigating the relationship between trust and the intention to cooperate from the perspective of ESCOs. In addition, most EPC studies recognized trust as a condition for the successful execution of EPC projects but failed to consider the role of trust in setting up the cooperation relationship prior to project execution.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2018

Jian Zuo, Xianbo Zhao, Quan Bui Minh Nguyen, Tony Ma and Shang Gao

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to identify the soft skills of construction project management; and second, to investigate the influence of these soft skills…

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4651

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to identify the soft skills of construction project management; and second, to investigate the influence of these soft skills on project success factors in the Vietnamese construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was conducted with 108 project management professionals from the Vietnamese construction industry. Partial least square structural equation modelling was employed in data analysis.

Findings

Four-dimensional structure of project success factors was confirmed in this study. Results also showed that soft skills of project managers significantly contributed to project success factors and hence the project success.

Research limitations/implications

There may be geographical limitation on the conclusions drawn from the findings. Similarly, the sample size was still small, despite a relatively high response rate. In addition, the majority of the respondents were contractors and clients as other project players were reluctant to respond to the survey.

Practical implications

This study provides an understanding of the relationship between soft skills and project success factors.

Originality/value

Although there have been studies focused on soft skills of project management and project success factors, few have attempted to analyse the effects of these soft skills on critical success factors. Thus, this study adds significantly to the existing research on both project management skills and project success factors.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 12 December 2017

Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao, Jian Zuo and George Zillante

This study aims to investigate the influence of contractual flexibility on different types of conflict, determine if contractual flexibility is significantly correlated…

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1871

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the influence of contractual flexibility on different types of conflict, determine if contractual flexibility is significantly correlated with project success between contracting parties, verify the mediating effect of project conflicts on the relationship between contractual flexibility and project success and examine the relationship between different types of conflicts and project success in megaprojects.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model was developed and a structured questionnaire survey was conducted with 468 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was used to analyze the data.

Findings

The results showed that both types of contractual flexibility – term and process flexibility – were correlated with and significantly positively affected project success, and term flexibility was found to have a greater influence. The introduction of project conflicts significantly weakened the relationship between contractual flexibility and project success, verifying the partial mediating effect of conflicts. All types of project conflicts play a destructive role in achieving project success; relationship conflict had the largest negative effect. Contractual flexibility affects two paths with respect to project success: the direct path (contractual flexibility → project success) and the indirect path (contractual flexibility → conflict → project success). The direct effect of contractual flexibility on project success is positive; the corresponding indirect effect is negative. The direct effect is greater than the corresponding indirect effect.

Research limitations/implications

Different types of conflicts may mutually transform to extent certain degree. However, this study did not address the potential influence of conflict transformation on project success. The results implied that more emphasis should be placed on contractual terms, particularly on developing flexible terms in the contractual document, when implementing megaprojects. Meanwhile, this study reveals the effects of conflicts on project success in megaprojects, which provides a useful reference for project stakeholders to avoid the negative effect of conflicts.

Practical implications

This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between contractual flexibility, types of conflicts in megaprojects and a reliable reference for the project manager to effectively deal with these related issues. This implies the contracting parties strengthen communication and cooperation to establish a trust mechanism, while reducing the negative influence of project conflicts and enhancing the positive effect of contractual flexibility.

Originality/value

Few studies have investigated the effects of contractual flexibility on conflict and project success in megaprojects; this study contributes significant theoretical and practical insights to contract management and conflict management and provides a reliable reference to achieve project success.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2021

Junwei Zheng, Xueqin Gou, Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao, Hongyang Li and Bingsheng Liu

This study investigated the differential effects of empowering leadership and directive leadership in projects. Moreover, how the complex interplay between empowering and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigated the differential effects of empowering leadership and directive leadership in projects. Moreover, how the complex interplay between empowering and directive leadership styles influences both leader–member exchange and project performance was also explored.

Design/methodology/approach

Polynomial regression analysis and response surface modeling were applied to analyze 161 matched data collected from project members and managers worked in different projects located in China.

Findings

Four leadership styles were identified, i.e. ambidextrous, delegating, directive and laissez-faire styles. These may be combined with empowering and directive leadership. With regard to (in)congruence, leader–member exchange and project performance improved with ambidextrous style as a form of high–high congruence between empowering and directive leadership compared with laissez-faire style (i.e. low–low congruence). Results were better when a delegating style was combined with empowering leadership at a high level compared with the combination of directive style as directive leadership at a high level. Leader–member exchange was identified to exert a mediating role of the (in)congruence on project performance.

Originality/value

This study confirmed the contingent viewpoint of leadership by identifying distinct leadership styles applied in projects. Furthermore, the co-existence of empowering leadership and directive leadership was examined, and the underlying mechanism between the (in)congruence of empowering and directive leadership and project performance was identified.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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