Dynamics of Collaborative Networks between Contractors and Subcontractors in the Construction Industry: Evidence from National Quality Award Projects in China

Yixuan Tang, Guangbin Wang, Heng Li, Dongping Cao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Using the method of stochastic actor-oriented models and a longitudinal data set of the National Quality Award Projects in China during 1998-2017, this study empirically investigates how project-based collaborative networks between contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry evolve across projects, and how related micromechanisms collectively underpin the evolution. The results reveal that the networks become dense over time and exhibit distinct scale-free properties. Furthermore, these macrolevel characteristics of network dynamics significantly relate to the structure-based preferential attachment effect, the ownership similarity effect, the geographic proximity effect, the negative scale similarity effect, and the ownership-based individual covariate effect, which operates at a microlevel. The findings not only provide a network view of how construction organizations select subcontractors in projects, but also contribute to broadened understanding of how project-based collaborative networks among firms in the construction industry evolve as complex adaptive systems whose macrolevel dynamics closely relate to a set of micro-organizing mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05018009
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Chinese construction industry
  • Network dynamics
  • Partner selection
  • Project-based collaborative networks
  • Stochastic actor-oriented models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management

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