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date: 25 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In recent years, a considerable interest in and literature regarding relational contracting and trust have emerged in the project management field. Though there are distinct and important differences in the nature of these two phenomena, their central premises underscore an important movement in re-evaluating inter-organizational relationships (partnering, for example) that are so prevalent in modern projects. This article addresses these issues from both theory and practice viewpoints. Trust, as a larger perspective, and relational contracting, as a practical phenomenon, are critical concepts within project-based organizations. Nowhere are these issues more relevant than in the architecture-engineering-construction industry, which has seen long-term adversarial relationships on the part of its multiple contractors, sub-contractors, customers, and other stakeholders. As a result, the goal of this article is to develop the role of trust as a critical organizational attribute and explore how one practical operationalization of trust (relational contracting) can play a crucial role in reorienting often contentious stakeholder relationships.

Keywords: relational contracting, project management, organizational attribute, inter-organizational relationships, project-based organizations, stakeholder relationships

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