Learning routines used by firms during construction of infrastructure projects using the alliance procurement method

Lewis, Joanne, Chen, Le, & Manley, Karen (2014) Learning routines used by firms during construction of infrastructure projects using the alliance procurement method. 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.

View at publisher


Collaborative contracting has emerged over the past 15 years as an innovative project delivery framework that is particularly suited to infrastructure projects. Australia leads the world in the development of project and program alliance approaches to collaborative delivery. These approaches are considered to promise superior project results. However, very little is known about the learning routines that are most widely used in support of collaborative projects in general and alliance projects in particular. The literature on absorptive capacity and dynamic capabilities indicates that such learning enhances project performance. The learning routines employed at corporate level during the operation of collaborative infrastructure projects in Australia were examined through a large survey conducted in 2013. This paper presents a descriptive summary of the preliminary findings.

The survey captured the experiences of 320 practitioners of collaborative construction projects, including public and private sector clients, contractors, consultants and suppliers (three per cent of projects were located in New Zealand, but for brevity’s sake the sample is referred to as Australian). The majority of projects identified used alliances (78.6%); whilst 9% used Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) contracts and 2.7% used Early Tender Involvement contracts, which are ‘slimmer’ types of collaborative contract. The remaining 9.7% of respondents used traditional contracts that employed some collaborative elements. The majority of projects were delivered for public sector clients (86.3%), and/or clients experienced with asset procurement (89.6%). All of the projects delivered infrastructure assets; one third in the road sector, one third in the water sector, one fifth in the rail sector, and the rest spread across energy, building and mining.

Learning routines were explored within three interconnected phases: knowledge exploration, transformation and exploitation. The results show that explorative and exploitative learning routines were applied to a similar extent. Transformative routines were applied to a relatively low extent. It was also found that the most highly applied routine is ‘regularly applying new knowledge to collaborative projects’; and the least popular routine was ‘staff incentives to encourage information sharing about collaborative projects’.

Future research planned by the authors will examine the impact of these routines on project performance.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

90 since deposited on 07 Feb 2014
28 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 67041
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Project alliances, Collaborative contracting, Australia, New Zealand, Project performance, Project outcomes, Learning, Absorptive capacity
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 01:15
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 04:26

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page