The definition of partnering as a Wittgenstein family-resemblance concept

Publisher's full text

This article on partnering and family-resemblance makes two contributions to the debate about the definition of partnering in construction. The first is a distinction between general prerequisites, components and goals when discussing the concept. In order to understand what is specific about partnering the focus should be on the components, which are identified through a literature review. The second contribution is to apply Ludwig Wittgenstein's idea of family-resemblance to the partnering concept. His idea is that a complex concept can be understood as a network of overlapping similarities.

From the literature review it is concluded that there are two necessary components in partnering - trust and mutual understanding - and that a number of different components can be added to form a specific variant of partnering. This provides a new method to define the vague and multifaceted concept of partnering in a flexible and structured way.

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