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The purpose of this paper is to explore the formation mechanism of the host country people's coping behavior regarding the construction of transnational railways to help engineering managers and decision makers improve their risk management and lead to sustainable transnational railway construction projects.Design/methodology/approachThis paper adopted the grounded theory methodology to analyze the news stories reported by “Belt and Road Portal” and “The New York Times” about eight transnational railways. They were China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan (Central Asia), Mecca-to-Medina (West Asia), Hungarian–Serbia (Europe), China–Nepal (South Asia), Bi-Oceanic (South America), Mombasa–Nairobi (Africa), China–Laos (Southeast Asia) and Panama railways (North America). The keywords for news search were the names of each railway. After eliminating the problem sentences with semantic repetition and ambiguity, 2,631 effective sentences were formed to screen the information and code. The process included open, axial and selective coding.FindingsIt was concluded that the core structure of the formation mechanism was “situation,” “influence factor,” “cognition” and “coping behavior.” The country-of-origin image has served as an adjustment function in the analysis for the host country people. Governance strategies were suggested focusing on risk prevention, risk mitigation and risk response according to social risk management.Research limitations/implicationsThe rise of transnational railway construction is encouraged by the process of globalization. But during the long construction period, the host country people's coping behavior would develop into social conflicts and mass incidents, becoming a significant obstacle to construction objectives. Thus, studying the formation mechanism of public coping behaviors can better take measures to prevent social risks.Originality/valueThe contributions of this research are three aspects: first, a formation mechanism of the host country people's coping behavior based on grounded theory is presented. Second, the country-of-origin image is found to be a factor that cannot be ignored in a transnational context. The formation mechanism of public coping behaviors is improved compared to risk management in the domestic situation. Finally, the host country people pay more attention to the motivations of country-of-origin's controlling interests and their own emotions compared with internal stakeholders.
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 25, 2021
Keywords: Transnational railway construction; Coping behavior; Formation mechanism; Social risks; Grounded theory
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