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Cultural differences as an explanatory variable for adversarial attitudes in the construction industry: the case of Hong Kong


  • Florence Phua
  • Steve Rowlinson


The procurement systems adopted in the construction industry are, by their very nature, fragmented and divided into sub-organizations distinguished by the various sentient stakeholders. The industry has come to be regarded as adversarial and one in which cooperation is expected to take place in a set of circumstances that are not wholly conducive. There are many reasons why the industry has developed in this fragmented and adversarial manner. This paper reviews some of these reasons and suggests that a new approach for analysing the way the industry operates is required. The authors argue that the perspective that should be adopted to identify the determinants of cooperation should logically stem from the individual level because cooperation is the result of individual efforts and interactions with each other. Using social identity theory, the authors advance a framework for analysing the cooperative behaviour of project participants based on their cultural orientation. As far as the authors are aware this is the first attempt within the construction industry to use such an approach to explain how the industry operates and this paper provides a review of how social identity theory can be used in construction research.

Suggested Citation

  • Florence Phua & Steve Rowlinson, 2003. "Cultural differences as an explanatory variable for adversarial attitudes in the construction industry: the case of Hong Kong," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(7), pages 777-785.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:21:y:2003:i:7:p:777-785
    DOI: 10.1080/0144619032000108245

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