An investigation of psychological contracts in construction procurement

South Bank University
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Going north for sustainability: Leveraging knowledge and innovation for sustainable construction and development: CIB International Conference Proceedings, 2015, pp. 70 - 80
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Purpose: A psychological contract (PC) is an unwritten contract with mutual obligations as the central issue and it fills the gaps in a relationship and shapes employee behaviour. To date, there has been limited research that has examined PC with respect to procurement methods in construction projects. There is a lot written about PCs, as a theoretical framework in areas such as strategic supplier partnering and relationships, but little research has been undertaken within a construction management context. An increased understanding of PC would enable procurement teams to identify the nuances associated with relationships in procurement and stakeholder selection. Aim/Objectives: This research aims to examine social exchanges in construction contracts so that partners can better manager their relationships in projects. Specific objectives of the broader research are to: identify the presence of psychological contracts in construction projects; identify and catalogue the affect that the PC’s has on the teams in various procurement models currently utilised within construction management and deliver a conceptual model of the PC in traditional and relationships style procurement scenarios. Method: This paper reports on the first stage of a broader research project. To check and maintain currency of the topic, focus groups are held with key industry players and this is followed by the development of a survey instrument administered to a large sample of construction professionals involved with project delivery (n=100). Results: PCs are clearly present in the construction delivery team and they have considerable effect on the interaction between the project stakeholders. It appears that the PC variables underpin behaviours to a considerable extent. The next stage of the research is to use the output from the triangulated survey to develop a conceptual model of the PC in traditional and relationships style procurement scenarios.
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