Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) involve a combination of two motivators: (1) profit for the private sector; and, (2) efficiency and savings for the public sector. This approach, which has become increasingly popular as a way of procuring and maintaining public infrastructure, is being adopted by many governments around the world. However, employing the PPP approach is not always positive and depends on each country context. This study investigates the principal factors for PPP implementation in a developing country (Vietnam). It explores their criticality using a mixed quantitative and qualitative methods sequential explanatory strategy. The study also uses a confirmatory factor analysis technique to address the potential drawbacks of the conventional mean value analysis method, and adopts a two-dimensional importance analysis approach to illustrate the co-variances among factors. The differences between North and South Vietnam, and between the public and private sectors concerning the importance of these factors, are additionally investigated in this study.
The results of this study confirm 37 from a pool of 84 factors suitable for PPP implementation in Vietnam, of which 23 important factors are identified and explained. This study also indicates four additional success factors in the context of Vietnam, including Stable government policies, Support from civilians, Attention and care of top leaders, and Coordination between relevant governmental departments and Ministries. In addition, the study’s findings prove the suitability of the adoption of the PPP approach in the Vietnamese context. Although no evidence was found for the significant differences between the public and private sectors on the importance of these factors, the results indicate a significant difference regarding the importance of the success factor Stable macro-economic condition between North and South Vietnam. Apart from the economic aspects, other elements were found to significantly contribute to the differences of PPP implementation between the two regions. These include: political aspects; infrastructure and weather conditions; and, cultural and human matters. Considering a combination of the most critical factors for PPP implementation in Vietnam obtained from the integration of the quantitative and qualitative findings, this study proposes an ideal model of the principal factors contributing the success of PPP implementation in Vietnam at the early stages of the PPP process. Compared with the results obtained in other countries, this study further indicates 13 important factors, irrespective of different jurisdictions. The remaining 10 factors are considered differently among the countries, depending on each country context.
The findings of this study have theoretical, methodological and practical value. The theoretical contributions include: this study provides a comprehensive review of the field and specifically of the principal factors for PPP implementation by using a three-stage method of a combined quantitative systematic and content analysis approach; it puts Vietnam on the map of PPP research in specific terms, possibly for use in future comparative, replicative research by showing dysfunctional, haphazard or incomplete models of PPPs in action in Vietnam; and, it provides a comparison for perceiving the important principal factors between countries, sectors, and the two halves of Vietnam, finally shown on an ideal model of PPPs in the country. In addition, it contributes four new success factors of PPP projects that emerged in the context of Vietnam to the existing literature on PPPs. Regarding methodological contributions, this study employs a new methodology approach to allow for a better understanding of the research problem by using a mixed methods design, and the application of techniques to address and present the co-variances between factors. This study also has implications for practice in that it constitutes a basis analysis for the government and the private sector of: how to adopt and identify PPP projects; and, how to attract private sector participation in PPP projects. It is believed that this useful information will help to minimise the current issues of PPP implementation in Vietnam.