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Partnering in construction: a critical review of issues, problems and dilemmas


  • Mike Bresnen
  • Nick Marshall


Partnering in construction has been presented as a potentially important way of improving construction project performance through the direct benefits it can bring to both clients and contractors. However, there is still considerable debate about the nature and merits of a partnering approach. This paper attempts to contribute towards this debate by exploring the presumed link between partnering and cultural change within the industry, at both organizational and interorganizational levels of analysis. To do so, it draws upon theory and research from the social sciences (especially organizational theory) to explore some of the issues, problems and dilemmas which emerge when full and proper account is taken of the complexities of organizations, as well as some of the subtleties and intricacies of the concept of organizational culture. The paper concludes that it is only by fully appreciating the effects of such complexity that a more realistic and practical approach to the development and implementation of partnering will emerge.

Suggested Citation

  • Mike Bresnen & Nick Marshall, 2000. "Partnering in construction: a critical review of issues, problems and dilemmas," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 229-237.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:18:y:2000:i:2:p:229-237
    DOI: 10.1080/014461900370852

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Sacks & Michael Harel, 2006. "An economic game theory model of subcontractor resource allocation behaviour," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(8), pages 869-881.
    2. Oliver Marschollek & Roman Beck, 2012. "Alignment of Divergent Organizational Cultures in IT Public-Private Partnerships," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 4(3), pages 153-162, June.
    3. Bossink, Bart A.G., 2004. "Managing drivers of innovation in construction networks," Serie Research Memoranda 0015, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    4. Yeo, K.T. & Ning, J.H., 2006. "Managing uncertainty in major equipment procurement in engineering projects," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 171(1), pages 123-134, May.
    5. Matilda Alexandrova & Daniela Staneva & George Petkov, 2014. "Local and Global Measures for Success and Reconstructive Determination of the Optimal Number of Partners in European Educational Projects," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 1, pages 63-76, January.
    6. Castro, Ignacio & Casanueva, Cristóbal & Galán, José Luis, 2014. "Dynamic evolution of alliance portfolios," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 423-433.
    7. Florence Phua, 2006. "When is construction partnering likely to happen? An empirical examination of the role of institutional norms," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(6), pages 615-624.
    8. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:59-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Shahin Mokhlesian, 2014. "How Do Contractors Select Suppliers for Greener Construction Projects? The Case of Three Swedish Companies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(7), pages 1-19, June.

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    Partnering; Alliancing; Culture;


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