University of Twente Student Theses


Transitioning towards a collaborative risk management process

Nieswaag, A.Y. (2020) Transitioning towards a collaborative risk management process.

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Abstract:Over the past decade, Dutch construction and infrastructure projects regularly experience cost overruns, time delays, and fights over claims. During the execution phase, unforeseen events are rule rather than exception. Evidently showing that parties failed to foresee and quantify major risks at the planning stage. Currently, the question as to how this can be explained and altered is debated in the Netherlands and is also the leading question for this research project. In the current Dutch risk management strategy, project liabilities are allocated to the client and the contractor through transactional contracting methods - even when the extent of liability is uncertain. Such contractual arrangements obstruct problem solving: parties tend to revert to their contractual positions, creating interactions that are confrontational and adversarial. Managing unforeseen events during the execution phase requires efforts of all parties involved. Non-adversarial relations are a precondition for cooperation in problem solving. Therefore - to change the current adversarial project interactions - a more collaborative risk management culture has to be developed. The purpose of this research was to examine the current risk management practice, and compare this practice with the collaborative success factors that literature proposes for transitioning towards a collaborative risk management culture. This research utilised literature together with data obtained from (1) in-depth interviews, (2) document analysis, and (3) an expert session. Twelve factors where identified for the successful establishment of a collaborative risk management culture. The empirical study showed that client and contractor follow similar risk management processes. However, client and contractor do so in parallel, separated from each other. Coordination between the parties can be traced back to organised risk sessions. However, the parties do not jointly mitigate and manage risks. Although representatives of clients, contractors, and engineering firms acknowledge the potential benefits of a more collaborative risk management culture, the current practice scores low on the identified factors supporting a collaborative risk management. To remedy the current situation, this study identified three domains where steps could be taken towards collaboration, namely, (1) procurement, (2) contract, and (3) human. First, the procurement needs to be focused on the selection of a contractor with the required attitude and behaviour by using effective selection criteria that incorporate the success factors. Second, the contract and its arrangements, have to be focused more towards supporting and defining such a relationship. Lastly, the human domain needs to be focused on finding project team members with a certain ‘collaborative aptitude’ and an intrinsic motivation to collaborate.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Construction Management and Engineering MSc (60337)
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