The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Jing Xu

The value of trust in construction supply chains

School Research Theme: Management of project enterprises
Research supervisors: Prof Hedley Smyth; Prof Stephen Pryke
Start date: 2014

Value is always co-created in networks of relationships where actors interact with each other. Effective relationships between those representing their respective organisations in construction supply chains (CSC) are necessary for effective integration, healthy interdependencies, hence successful project delivery. Relationships in CSC have long been featured as arms-length, short-term and transactional and do not always generate effective working. Collaboration has been repeatedly proposed to counteract these trends and trust has been identified as a key success indicator. This research is interested in the emergence, development and value of trust in the process of service interactions between main contractor (MC) and second-tier subcontractor (SC) in CSC and through the lens of service-dominant logic (S-DL). S-DL lens offers a complementary perspective to understand service interactions and evaluate value as co-created in construction project delivery. By observing construction projects repeatedly throughout the front-end, execution and completion, this process study focuses on trust emerging both as process and structure and its value and aims to answer three questions:

  1. Whether and if so how does trust, from MC to SC, develop during service interactions between MC and SC?
  2. Whether and if so how does trust, from MC to SC, dynamically help increase service value during service interactions between MC and SC?
  3. To what extent does trust, from MC to SC, develop in relationships between MC and SC? 
Publications and other work