اثر متقابل مکانیسم های نظارت در پروژه های تأمین تجهیزات پیچیده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|17016||2012||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Volume 18, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 113–121
Although many studies have investigated governance in inter-firm relationships, little is known about the simultaneous use of several governance mechanisms in complex procurement projects and their impact on project outcomes. In a case study about a complex procurement project in the Norwegian oil and gas industry, we investigate the interplay of contractual incentives, authority and relational governance. The project faced many problems with cost overruns and schedule delays. The study clearly illustrates the interrelationships between governance mechanisms and their effect on project outcomes. The findings suggest that relational governance (trust) is only beneficial for project outcomes when it is accompanied by contractual incentives and control systems (authority). Relational governance in itself does not guarantee an effective and beneficial interplay of all three mechanisms in a way that positive project outcomes are generated.
Complex procurement projects are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty and technological complexity, the involvement of a large number of actors, and a time span of several years (Olsen et al., 2005). The complexity usually prevents the buyer from simply buying discrete components and combining these. Therefore, the buying process does not follow the serial and sequential transaction mode of traditional procurement (Caldwell et al., 2009). Hence, it is a managerial challenge to design contracts and employ governance mechanisms that can cope with the pitfalls associated with uncertainty, transaction costs and opportunism that are typically involved in these complex procurement projects (cf. Williamson, 1985 and Williamson, 1991). Governance mechanisms are safeguards against opportunism that firms employ to govern inter-organizational exchange (Jap and Ganesan, 2000). Companies use formal governance mechanisms such as market contracts and authority (Yu et al., 2006), as well as relational governance mechanisms such as relational norms and trust (Zaheer and Venkatraman, 1995). In managerial practice these mechanisms are often applied in combination. However, in academic literature there exist opposing views on whether or not governance mechanisms act as substitutes (e.g., Reve, 1990; Wuyts and Geyskens, 2005; Williamson, 1985) or whether they are complementary (e.g., Poppo and Zenger, 2002; Ness and Haugland, 2005). Even though many studies have investigated the operation of isolated governance mechanisms (e.g. Gassenheimer et al., 1996; Hawkins et al., 2008; Jap and Anderson, 2003; Joshi and Stump, 1996; Poppo and Zenger, 2002; Wathne and Heide, 2000), only few studies investigate the simultaneous use of several governance mechanisms (exceptions are Caniëls and Gelderman, 2010; Olsen et al., 2005; Liu et al., 2009). This paper contributes to current understanding of governance mechanisms in different ways. First, we investigate the simultaneous use of contractual incentives, authority and relational governance. Hence, we specifically focus on the interplay of governance mechanisms, something that has not been addressed very often in academic studies. Second, the paper takes a dynamic perspective on the development of governance mechanisms in inter-firm relationships, by studying the changes in the interplay of different mechanisms over time.Inter-firm relationships are intrinsically unstable, because the costs and the benefits of the relationship may change for each party after a while. In the beginning, benefits of the cooperation outweigh the costs. However, as the cooperation continues circumstances might cause costs to overshadow the benefits for one of the parties, while the other party may still gain from the relationship. This situation may induce opportunistic behavior of one party. Several governance mechanisms can safeguard against this opportunistic behavior. However, the accents on each of the isolated mechanisms in the constellation of all mechanisms may have to shift over time as well, in order to attend to the changing circumstances and changing behavior of business parties. Since it is hard to carry out longitudinal studies, adaptations in the mix of governance mechanisms over time are hardly ever investigated. Yet, they are part of daily business practice and as such a relevant and interesting area of research that can offer important managerial insights. Third, the study links the co-evolvement of governance mechanisms to project outcomes, assessed in terms of cost, timely delivery and achieved quality. The specific focus on project outcomes is original, because most studies in this field focus on the use or working of governance mechanisms in buyer–supplier relationships, but not so much on the impact of these mechanisms in a project management context. In order to explore the interplay of governance mechanisms a case study has been conducted on a complex procurement project in the Norwegian offshore oil and gas industry. Companies in the oil and gas industry generally spend around 80% to 90% of their costs on contractors (Raymond and Leffler, 2006). Procurement projects in this sector are generally complex, inducing companies to explore the simultaneous use of contracts and other governance mechanisms (Olsen et al., 2005). The case study involved semi-structured interviews with key respondents, which were employed by an initial operator, a second operator and an integrator. Furthermore, this study draws on the available documentation and archival records such as contracts and project monthly reports. This article is organized as follows. First, we present the theoretical background of the study, resulting in a conceptual model. Then, we discuss the research methodology, followed by a presentation of the results of the case study. Subsequently, we discuss the results by analyzing our empirical observations and comparing them to what is known from previous studies. The final section presents conclusions and recommendations for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although many studies have investigated governance in inter-firm relationships, little is known about the simultaneous use and impact of several governance mechanisms, particularly in complex procurement projects. In complex and hazardous projects that require an extensive coordination between different parties, the impact and interplay of governance mechanisms are especially important. The investigated project in the Norwegian oil and gas industry is a typical example of such a complex procurement project. Significant interplay effects were found in the study, not just among governance mechanisms, but also between these mechanisms and project outcomes. With respect to the interplay of governance mechanisms and its impact on project outcomes we find that the role of trust is less straightforward than would be expected from the literature. Existing studies (e.g. Olsen et al., 2005) suggest that trust drives other governance mechanisms and ultimately leads to desirable project outcomes. The absence of trust is generally associated with bad collaboration between project partners, resulting in bad project outcomes. Our study shows the need to refine this reasoning. We found that trust in absence of contractual incentives and control leads to bad project outcomes. In contrast, trust in combination with contractual incentives and authority leads to well defined contracts with clear roles of parties and specific agreements on deliverables that easily can be reinforced. The main conclusion of our study is that trust and relational governance are only beneficial for project outcomes when they are accompanied by contractual incentives and control systems. Trust in itself does not guarantee an effective and beneficial interplay of all three mechanisms in a way that automatically generates project progress and desired outcomes. In order to achieve project performance, all three mechanisms must work together and support and stimulate each other. This does not happen automatically, it might be so, as was demonstrated by our case, that one mechanism leads to the neglect of another. This study has several managerial implications. Management should understand the impact of governance mechanisms on the project outcomes, their interplay, and the varying effects during the run of complex (procurement) projects. From a managerial perspective it is importance to be aware that different governance mechanisms are mutually dependent. In order to achieve optimal project performance, proactive strategies are required on how to employ the mix of various governance mechanisms, rather than applying each mechanism in isolation. It is a challenge to manage the entire mix of mechanisms simultaneously to generate a productive rather than counter-productive interplay between mechanisms. A way to deal with this challenge could be to have a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders, in which governance mechanisms are explicitly discussed (see alsoLiu et al., 2009). Before the start of a project the parties involved could come to an aligned plan about how to implement the mix of governance mechanisms. Parties should be aware that the design and execution of an optimal mix of governance is essential to reach common goals. Furthermore, parties should be willing to jointly evaluate, discuss and possibly revise the mix of mechanisms on a regular basis, to be able to adapt to changing circumstances during the run of a project. The classical recommendation in project management literature is to use cost reimbursable contracts when project uncertainty is high (e.g. Branconi and Loch, 2004). In the complex, risky and highly uncertain project of our case a reimbursable contract was indeed used. However, this approach left all responsibility to the client, while the contractors had no incentive to be cost and time efficient. The findings of our case lead to the following managerial advice in this respect. Because of the many uncertainties about output specifications, it might still be wise to draw up reimbursable contracts, however, it is highly advisable to ensure that the roles of parties are clearly stated in the contract and contractual incentives are designed in a way that they induce desired behavior of parties. A trusting relationship in itself is not sufficient to induce good project performance. In addition, it is sensible to develop clever ways in which interests of project parties become and remain aligned. This can be achieved for instance by investing in socialization efforts, such as team building events. Several avenues for further research are opened by our study. A next step could be to formulate a format for a mix of governance mechanisms with different accents that would generate optimal project outcomes in different circumstances. It would be worthwhile to investigate whether it is possible to provide a “recipe” of constellations of mechanisms to use in various circumstances. This would be a valuable asset to managers in complex procurement situations. Furthermore, researchers are encouraged to undertake further studies into socialization as a potentially effective governance mechanism that precedes and stimulates trust in buyer–supplier relationships. Additionally, further research is recommended on the role of trust in relation to the other governance mechanisms to provide supplementary insights on whether trust acts as a driver for other governance mechanisms, or whether it is really the combination of trust with the other mechanisms that generates a successful interplay and a positive impact on project outcomes. One of the limitations of our study pertains to the level of complexity of this project and its duration. Only few employees were involved from the start of the project had could therefore provide a complete overview of what had happened during the 6 years. Moreover, several employees had changed roles during the run of the project. Some of the interview questions might have been difficult to answer by respondents who were not in a project management position, and were lacking a helicopter view. However, we feel that the analysis on basis of all the interviews together, supplemented with the archival records, gave a complete and comprehensive overview of the project. Another limitation of our study concerns our use of a single case that obviously limits the external validity of the results. Therefore it is clear that our results should be interpreted with caution. Further research is needed to extend the knowledge in this field and to identify whether out findings can be generalized to other complex procurement projects. To this end more cases of complex procurement projects should be studied and compared. Moreover, future research should investigate the impact of specific combinations of governance mechanisms, preferably in a dynamic context.