Social and cultural drivers of incentive effectiveness in infrastructure projects

Rose, Timothy M. & Volker, Leentje (2013) Social and cultural drivers of incentive effectiveness in infrastructure projects. In Kajewski, Stephen, Manley, Karen, & Hampson, Keith (Eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International CIB World Building Congress, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD.

View at publisher (open access)


Formal incentives systems aim to encourage improved performance by offering a reward for the achievement of project-specific goals. Despite argued benefits of incentive systems on project delivery outcomes, there remains debate over how incentive systems can be designed to encourage the formation of strong project relationships within a complex social system such as an infrastructure project. This challenge is compounded by the increasing emphasis in construction management research on the important mediating influence of technical and organisational context on project performance. In light of this challenge, the research presented in this paper focuses on the design of incentive systems in four infrastructure projects: two road reconstructions in the Netherlands and two building constructions in Australia. Based on a motivational theory frame, a cross case analysis is conducted to examine differences and similarities across social and cultural drivers impacting on the effectiveness of the incentive systems in light of infrastructure project context.

Despite significant differences in case project characteristics, results indicate the projects’ experience similar social drivers impacting on incentive effectiveness. Significant value across the projects was placed on: varied performance goals and multiple opportunities to across the project team to pursue incentive rewards; fair risk allocation across contract parties; value-driven tender selection; improved design-build integration; and promotion of future work opportunities. However, differences across the contexts were identified. Results suggest future work opportunities were a more powerful social driver in upholding reputation and establishing strong project relationships in the Australian context. On the other hand, the relationship initiatives in the Dutch context seemed to be more broadly embraced resulting in a greater willingness to collaboratively manage project risk. Although there are limitations with this research in drawing generalizations across two sets of case projects, the results provide a strong base to explore the social and cultural influences on incentive effectiveness across different geographical and contextual boundaries in future research.

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:

29 since deposited on 23 Jan 2015
6 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: 81185
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Incentives, Collaboration, Infrastructure project, Australia, the Netherlands
ISBN: 9780987554215
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Authors and/or their employers
Deposited On: 23 Jan 2015 00:01
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2015 07:29

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page