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Effects of inter-organizational conflicts on construction project added value in China
journal contributionposted on 03.05.2018, 00:00 by G Wu, Xianbo ZhaoXianbo Zhao, J Zuo
Purpose: The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects of inter-organizational conflicts on the project added value in the Chinese construction industry, and also to examine the mediating effect of conflicts on project added value and the moderating effect of conflict management strategies. Design/methodology/approach: A conceptual model was developed, and a structured questionnaire survey was conducted with 667 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was used to analyze the data. Findings: The results showed that task conflict, relationship conflict and process conflict were influenced by subject characteristics of project participants, bilateral relationship characteristics and project characteristics. Similarly, these three types of conflicts interact with each other. Meanwhile, these three types of conflicts influence the added value in construction projects, which are moderated by conflict management strategies. Under a collaborating strategy, task conflict and process conflict were positively associated with project added value, and relationship conflict was negatively associated with project added value. Under a competing strategy, task conflict, process conflict and relationship conflict were negatively associated with added value in construction projects. Therefore, the constructive and destructive effects of conflicts on project added value under different conflict management strategies are verified in Chinese construction projects. Research limitations/implications: The variables may not be exhaustive for construction projects and most of them were applied in construction projects for the first time. As a result, their rationality and effectiveness could be further improved. The results implied that inter-organizational conflicts had a constructive effect on project added value and should attract broad attention for future research. Additionally, different driving factors had different influences on these conflicts, and even the driving factors can be divided into different dimensions. Practical implications: This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between inter-organizational conflicts and added value in construction projects, and a reliable reference for the project manager to effectively deal with these conflicts. In addition, this research reveals the effects of conflicts on project added value and the path of conflicts transformation. This provides a useful reference for project managers to take advantage of the positive effect of task conflict and process conflict, and to avoid the negative effect of relationship conflict. Originality/value: Very few studies attempted to examine the effects of inter-organizational conflicts on project added value in construction projects. Therefore, this research makes significant theoretical and practical contributions to the existing body of knowledge on the conflict management and project added value. This research provides an empirical evidence to support the viewpoint that different types of conflicts can be mutually transformed. Similarly, this study explains how conflicts present functional and dysfunctional effects in construction projects. Both of them are potential theoretical contributions to the existing body of knowledge.