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Becoming collaborative: a study of intra-organisational rational dynamics

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posted on 05.09.2017 by Eloise Grove, Andrew Dainty, Derek Thomson, Tony Thorpe
The intra-organisational relationships of through-life support services providers are complex, especially given the multifaceted nature of the provision required. For example, capabilities within the UK highways maintenance arena must support engineering design, routine maintenance and the ongoing management of the network. While collaboration in construction projects has formed a major research focus in recent years, there is a paucity of work examining collaboration in-flight. Through a micro-practices approach two contracts delivering highway infrastructure maintenance and renewal services are examined to explore the intra-organisational relationships that determine the quality of service delivered. Despite the rhetoric of collaboration and integrated working that pervades the contemporary project discourse, there was a clear focus on addressing immediate technical and commercial concerns rather than on creating the conditions for integrated working to flourish. On the occasions where the collaborative environment was prioritised a more integrated service was delivered. In contrast to other accounts of the ways collaborative working shapes performance, this research reveals an acute need for a sustained collaborative effort; as soon as ‘collaborative working’ was normalised, the level of integration and seamlessness of service was diminished. This questions normative notions of what defines collaborative working in projects, and suggests a need for re-framing it as an ongoing accomplishment of actors involved. Such a perspective resonates with notions of ‘organizational becoming’, particularly in that attempts to foster collaboration are themselves constitutive of the unfolding and shifting nature of intra-organizational relationships that emerge in complex contractual arrangements.

History

School

  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction

Citation

GROVE, E. ...et al., 2018. Becoming collaborative: a study of intra-organisational rational dynamics. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, 23 (1), pp.6-23.

Publisher

Emerald © The Authors

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

18/07/2017

Publication date

2018-04-03

Notes

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Emerald under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

ISSN

1366-4387

Language

en

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