Defining project partnering
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OriginalversjonInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business. 2017, 10 (4), 666-699. 10.1108/IJMPB-10-2016-0076
Purpose – Due to observed problems in real-life projects stemming from the lack of a unified definition, the purpose of this paper is to formulate a new definition of project partnering (PP) through documenting the specific characteristics researchers attribute to this approach. Design/methodology/approach – PP definition phrases extracted from a literature review were sorted into a basic framework of who, what, how, when and where. In a web-based survey, a group of experts marked the phrases from the literature review as being specific, generic, or irrelevant to PP. The expert group comprised highly ranked and experienced PP researchers. Based on the survey results, a new definition was formulated. The new definition specifies the participants, the objectives and the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques applied to pursue the objectives in PP. A verification survey of the expert group gave a 78-96 per cent combined approve and support score for each element of the new definition. Findings – PP and a partnering project are defined by a framework encompassing three basic dimensions: participants, objectives, knowledge, skills, tools and techniques applied to pursue the objectives. The new definition is: “project partnering is a relationship strategy whereby a project owner integrates contractors and other major contributors into the project”. Through commitment to mutual project objectives, collaborative problem solving and a joint governance structure, partners pursue collaborative relationships, trust and improved performance. The new definition indicates that PP neither varies with early contractor involvement nor gain and pain share, but varies with the degree of mutual project objectives, collaborative problem solving and joint governance structure. Originality/value – PP is a complex concept with no widely accepted definition. The basic framework applied to the formulation of the definition in this project can also be applied to define and implement a partnering project and to define and distinguish between other relationship-based procurement forms.