Configuration, collaboration and complexity in strategic partnerships : An institutional inquiry conducted from the inside of a strategic partnership in Danish construction
In Ph.d.-serien for Det Ingeniør- og Naturvidenskabelige Fakultet, Aalborg Universitet, 2021
In this thesis I examine the phenomenon of strategic partnership that has gained a foothold in Danish construction in recent years. A strategic partnership is materialised through a tender based on a framework agreement, and the subsequent formation of a partnership organisation comprised of the client organisation and the winning consortium. Tendering and formation of strategic partnerships has previously been touted a way to cope with complex problems that characterise modern construction by cultivating long-term collaborative relationships across the construction value chain in the formed partnership organisation. The overall research objective of this study is to obtain an understanding of how strategic partnerships develop collaborative relationships to address and potentially solve complex problems. The title of the thesis ‘Configuration, collaboration and complexity in strategic partnerhips’ refers to three specific aspects of strategic partnerships that I examine and describe in this thesis. The subtitle ‘An institutional inquiry conducted from the inside of a strategic partnership in Danish construction’ emphasises that the study is a single-case study conducted in a strategic partnership and that the applied theoretical framework is based on concepts from institutional scholarship. More specifically, the examined case is the strategic partnership between the City of Copenhagen's client organisation ‘ByK’ and the consortium ‘TRUST’. In the conclusions, I find that a specific organisational structure and five components are perceived legitimate for strategic partnership configuration. I also find that collaborative relationships are developed through formation of a partnership organisation, identity work and distribution of authority and responsibility in the organisation. Finally, I find that processual, spatial and material responses are developed in strategic partnerships to deal with complexity. The thesis contributes with knowledge about how the strategic partnership between ByK and TRUST: (1) arrange and rearrange components to form and develop the desired strategic partnership, (2) develop their contractual relationship into a collaborative relationship and (3) deals with challenges, incompatible prescriptions and different ambitions.