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The influence of trust on project management practice within the construction industry

Construction Economics and Building
Volume 17 Issue 1 (Mar 2017)

Abstract: Given that any construction project is inherently a human endeavour, it follows that issues of trust are significant in terms of the stakeholder interactions that deliver eventual project outcomes. Previous research indicates that the relational basis upon which projects are undertaken are intended to influence the likelihood of trusting relationships between stakeholders. Thus, experiences of trust in a construction project environment are likely to be influenced by the contextual specifics of respective transactional and relational contracting procurement mechanisms, given the divergent theoretical principles upon which they are founded. The influence of trust has therefore been examined through the lived experiences of construction practitioners. A phenomenological interview study consisting of thirty-five (35) participants was conducted with sensitivity to the procurement of experiences being recounted. Issues of trust were shown to be integral to stakeholder experiences in both procurement environments, with the benefits of trust acknowledged in many instances. However, little understanding was evident regarding methods for building and maintaining trust, nor for repairing trust when problems arose. Importantly, despite the differing principles that underpin transactional and relational procurement, and particularly the contention that relational procurement would increase trust between trading partners, this was not evident; with individual personalities and appropriate risk apportionment shown to be greater influences upon the likelihood of trusting relationships. It is reasonable to conjecture that relational contracts actually diminish the need for trust, given that the objective is to reduce uncertainty through formulaic approaches to risk distribution and reward; the absence of risk negates the need for trust. Ultimately, the potential to deliver improved project outcomes as a result of proactive approaches to developing and maintaining trust, as well as repairing trust after difficulties, was shown to apply under all procurement conditions.

To cite this article: Strahorn, Scott; Brewer, Graham and Gajendran, Thayaparan. The influence of trust on project management practice within the construction industry [online]. Construction Economics and Building, Vol. 17, No. 1, Mar 2017: 1-19. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=763670770777262;res=IELENG> ISSN: 2204-9029. [cited 28 Jun 17].

Personal Author: Strahorn, Scott; Brewer, Graham; Gajendran, Thayaparan; Source: Construction Economics and Building, Vol. 17, No. 1, Mar 2017: 1-19 DOI: Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 2204-9029 Subject: Construction projects; Construction industry--Environmental aspects; Project management; Research--Methodology; Construction industry--Economic aspects; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia, email: scott@strahornconstructiongroup.com.au
(2) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia
(3) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia

Database: Engineering Collection