CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractConflicts are an inevitable aspect of human interactions that can affect project cost and schedule, and the parties’ relationships. Although the traditional mindset regards conflict as a negative event, there is a lack of empirical research in associating different causes of conflict with contractual relationship quality. This study aims to discover the linkages between the common causes of conflict and relationship quality. Thirteen common causes of conflict are identified. Accordingly, trust, performance satisfaction, commitment and teamwork among contracting parties have been identified as relationships attributes. Data is collected through an initial survey questionnaire. Multiple regression models are developed, and the stepwise backward elimination technique is used in analyzing the data. Accordingly, it is empirically demonstrated that significant causes of conflict can have both negative and positive effects on relationship quality. However, the causes of conflict cannot by themselves explain the variation of relationship quality among construction parties. Contract document ambiguities, opportunistic and adversarial behavior, and poor communication and misunderstandings are the three negative causes of conflict significantly associated with relationship quality. All four attributes show strong statistical significance to perceived relationship quality. Based on expert interviews, the empirical findings are validated, and further detail is provided for the effect of common causes of conflict on relationship attributes. A set of strategies for controlling and managing relationships is compiled and proposed.



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