Purpose – This paper investigates third-party relationships in project networks in the construction industry and seeks increased understanding on how such relationships can be strengthened. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework and propositions on enhanced relationship strength between component suppliers and designers as third parties. Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual approach is used in this paper. Previous empirical research on business relationships, project networks and relationship strength is reviewed systematically, to identify factors required for strengthening the relationship in project networks. Findings – Cooperative practices needed for strengthening the relationships in project networks were identified. The framework on how such practices are associated with relationship strength between supplier and designers was developed. Propositions on strengthening the relationship between component suppliers and designers were stated. These propositions can be developed further and tested in a hypothetic-deductive study. Research limitations/implications – The research was delimited by the choice of designers as third parties. The authors used some excerpts from the earlier interview study with over 20 designers, to illustrate the issues. Empirical analysis was not included in this paper which causes an evident limitation to validity. Additional research is proposed on analyzing the contractors’ and suppliers’ viewpoints to third-party relationships. Practical implications – The paper suggests cooperative practices for construction component suppliers to enhance their relationship strength with third parties in project networks. Originality/value – Limited research attention has been directed at the third-party relationships of suppliers in project networks. This paper offers important knowledge about these less salient relationships in project networks, beyond a simple dyadic relationship in the direct supply chain.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2015