Relational contracting in Nordic construction

a comparative longitudinal account of institutional field developments and learning mechanisms



contracting, institutionalization, construction industry, learning, legitimacy


Relational contracting increasingly used to enable resource efficiency and inter-organizational collaboration in complex and uncertain construction projects, but it has proved hard to sustain legitimacy and enable industry-level learning over time. In this paper, we compare the developments in relational contracting in four Nordic countries over 30 years using an institutional perspective. The countries share similar in problem perceptions and other factors triggering de-institutionalization but differ in dissemination patterns and models, key actors, structures for knowledge development, terminology and legitimacy challenges. In general, there is a need to find ways to combine higher collaborative competence and shared practices with broad dissemination.

Author Biographies

Anna Kadefors, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Professor, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management


Kirsi Aaltonen, University of Oulu

Associate Professor

Stefan Christoffer Gottlieb, Aalborg University, Copenhagen

Senior researcher, Department of the Built Environment

Pertti Lahdenperä, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland

Principal Scientist

Nils Olsson, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering





9.2 Collaboration in Temporary Inter-organizational Projects