Analysing governance categories used on project alliances in the construction industry

Manley, Karen, Chen, Le, & Lewis, Joanne (2014) Analysing governance categories used on project alliances in the construction industry. In Proceedings of the CIB 2014 International Conference on Construction in a Changing World, The University of Salford / International Council for Building (CIB), Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka, pp. 1-17.

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In Australia, collaborative contracts, and in particular, project alliances, have been increasingly used to govern infrastructure projects. These contracts use formal and informal governance mechanisms to manage the delivery of infrastructure projects. Formal mechanisms such as financial risk sharing are specified in the contract, while informal mechanisms such as integrated teams are not. Given that the literature contains a multiplicity of often untestable definitions, this paper reports on a review of the literature to operationalize the concepts of formal and informal governance. This work is the first phase of a study that will examine the optimal balance of formal and informal governance structures.

Desk-top review of leading journals in the areas of construction management and business management, as well as recent government documents and industry guidelines, was undertaken to to conceptualise and operationalize formal and informal governance mechanisms. The study primarily draws on transaction-cost economics (e.g. Williamson 1979; Williamson 1991), relational contract theory (Feinman 2000; Macneil 2000) and social psychology theory (e.g. Gulati 1995). Content analysis of the literature was undertaken to identify key governance mechanisms. Content analysis is a commonly used methodology in the social sciences area. It provides rich data through the systematic and objective review of literature (Krippendorff 2004). NVivo 9, a qualitative data analysis software package, was used to assist in this process.

A previous study by the authors identified that formal governance mechanisms can be classified into seven measurable categories: (1) negotiated cost, (2) competitive cost, (3) commercial framework, (4) risk and reward sharing, (5) qualitative performance, (6) collaborative multi-party agreement, and (7) early contractor involvement. Similarly, informal governance mechanisms can be classified into four measureable categories: (1) leadership structure, (2) integrated team, (3) team workshops, and (4) joint management system.

This paper explores and further defines the key operational characteristics of each mechanism category, highlighting its impact on value for money in alliance project delivery. The paper’s contribution is that it provides the basis for future research to compare the impact of a range of individual mechanisms within each category, as a means of improving the performance of construction projects.

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ID Code: 67031
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Collaborative contracts, Governance mechanisms, Value for money, Infrastructure projects, Project alliances
ISBN: 978-1-907842-54-2
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 07 Feb 2014 01:30
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 04:25

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