Exploring the applicability of construction partnering in Mainland China: A qualitative study

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore the applicability of construction partnering in Mainland China, and to provide useful suggestions and possible implications for decision-makers to adopt this collaborative approach to project procurement. Design/methodology/approach: Document analysis was first employed to identify the favourable conditions and potential difficulties in the application of partnering in Mainland China. A series of face-to-face semi-structured interviews targeting academic experts and industrial practitioners was undertaken to solicit their perceptions of the benefits and difficulties of implementing partnering in Mainland China, coupled with their overall assessment of the applicability of, and suggestions for, the implementation of partnering in the region. Findings: The results of document analysis indicated that the cultural roots of co-operation and mutual trust, together with the increasing need to improve the current state of project performance in Mainland China, underpin the application of partnering in the construction market, although its application and generalisation still encounter some significant difficulties. The perceived benefits, potential barriers and effective strategies for partnering application in Mainland China were determined from the interviewees. The interview results further supported the applicability of construction partnering and provided constructive and practical suggestions for possible implementation in the Mainland Chinese construction industry. The partnering approach is evaluated as being practicable and appropriate in this study for the construction industry in Mainland China. Research limitations/implications: Although it is essential to base the analysis of partnering applicability on a qualitative study, an empirical quantitative investigation of the benefits and difficulties of partnering application could further reinforce the quality of analysis. Future research could look into the project-based assessment of partnering application in terms of the perceived benefits and potential difficulties of, and success factors for, partnering implementation in Mainland China. Practical implications: Policy-makers aiming for the introduction of the partnering approach could be equipped with stronger confidence from favourable cultural environment and industrial needs. Restrictions to the application of partnering underlying in the current working culture could be mitigated when appropriate strategies are taken by the initiators of the partnering approach. Originality/value: Increased worldwide attention on construction partnering has shed light on the construction industry in Mainland China to achieve better value for money in project procurement and management. This paper provides valuable reference for decision-makers to consider the adoption of partnering based on the qualitative analysis of the applicability of partnering in the construction industry in Mainland China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-694
Number of pages28
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Applicability
  • China
  • Construction industry
  • Culture
  • Partnering
  • Partnership
  • Procurement
  • Project management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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