A quasi-experimental evaluation of partnering

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Construction managerial literature often argues that there are gains to be made by using partnering. Voices have however been raised to approach partnering in a more neutral perspective and with well-founded methods of evaluation. This study can be seen as an outcome of the criticisms against earlier empirical evaluations by setting out to provide more tangible data and an improved method for evaluating partnering. A quasi-experimental method has been adopted in order to control for other affecting variables and find the unique effect of partnering. This approach strives to match partnering projects with identical non-partnering projects on every relevant variable except partnering. Six hundred and twenty three site meeting minutes from 20 publicly procured projects have been analysed to extract differences between partnering and non-partnering projects concerning cost and quality. Time delays, the amount of disputes, financial outcome and contract flexibility have been used as indicators. The paper has made a first attempt in trying to push the frontier for partnering evaluations forward by providing a new type of data (site meeting minutes) and applying a well-reputed evaluation method (quasi-experiment). The main result is that no systematic or general trends can be seen in the material. This result casts a shadow over the optimistic results from earlier evaluations and suggests that the main contribution of partnering might lie in its intangible effects.

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