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Understanding collaborative working in a facilitated interdisciplinary environment

Connaughton, J. and Collinge, W. (2019) Understanding collaborative working in a facilitated interdisciplinary environment. In: CEO2019: 10th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organisation, 7-8 May 2019, Talinn, Estonia,

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/S2516-285320190000002008


Purpose: This paper reports on the trial of a new form of project insurance in UK construction designed to improve collaborative working among project participants by enhancing their joint responsibility for project outcomes. Its purpose is to examine the interprofessional collaborative endeavour under these new insurance arrangements, drawing on a structuration model of interdisciplinary collaboration developed in the field of healthcare studies. Design/Methodology/Approach: The research involved a longitudinal, action research approach with participant observation over the period of the trial project. A novel element included a project facilitator as part of the action research team. In addition, qualitative and quantitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews with project participants and close scrutiny of the documented project record. Findings: The study findings are in line with other social practice-based studies of collaboration in construction in which collaborators socialise the collaborative endeavour, developing their interpretation of what collaboration means and their own modus operandi. However, project structure emerges as a more important element in the collaboration process than is typically recognised in practice-based studies. More significantly, the analysis reveals that it is the interplay of structure, the socialising processes of the participants, and facilitation that helps develop interdependence among project participants and provides a basis for understanding collaboration on the trial project. Research limitations/implications: The case study project provides a unique context for the examination of collaboration under the new project insurance arrangements. But the results have implications for the study of collaboration in highlighting the important relationship between project structure, collaboration and facilitation. Practical implications: Understanding the importance of how interdependency is developed through structure, the socialising processes of collaborators, and facilitation has important implications for those concerned with designing project arrangements and managing collaborative processes. Originality/value: The trial project is the first full trial of the new project insurance arrangements in the UK, and provides a unique context for the study of collaboration. By highlighting the significance of project structure, and the interplay between structure, the collaborators’ emerging practices and facilitation, the paper departs from other work in this area to suggest fruitful avenues for further enquiry, and for practice.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:79662
Uncontrolled Keywords:Collaboration, social practice, insurance, structuration, interdependency


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