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Benhaim, M and Birchall, D W (1998) Interfirm relationships within the construction industry: a comparative study between France and the UK. In: Hughes, W (Ed.), Proceedings 14th Annual ARCOM Conference, 9-11 September 1998, Reading, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 2, 407–15.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: co-operation; interfirm relationships; partnering; networks
- ISBN/ISSN: 0 9534161 0 0
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar1998-407-415_Benhaim_and_Birchall.pdf
Interfirm relationships in the Construction Industry, studied in France and in the UK, are undergoing major changes. These changes are analysed using a framework based on human ecology/collective-action theory. A historical overview of the Industry in both countries reveals similarities in their national evolution. The Industry's fragmentation has created vicious circles in the production system that has, in turn, damaged production conditions. The latest organizational form to emerge, partnering, adopted by isolated French construction companies in the 80s and by a few pioneers in the UK since 1994, provides the basis for an overall reassessment of the relationships between clients, designers, engineers, main contractors and subcontractors. Case studies have been used to explore the determinants of partnering implementation or, in the case of the French study, the reasons for its failure. On the basis of these findings, the collective-action theory is shown to offer a framework for better understanding the UK and French Industry's situation and the reasons for network occurrence in the UK, as an alternative to the merchanting system.