Managing inter-organisational relationships among project parties in large and complex construction projects

  • Jirong Li

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMaster of Philosophy


The aim of this research is to develop a theoretical framework of stakeholder relationship management in the context of large and complex construction projects, in order to facilitate better management of stakeholder relationships in such a context. An extensive literature review was made at first. Next, interviews with 18 construction professionals were combined with the replies from 125 respondents to a detailed questionnaire compiled to characterise the types of challenges faced by large and complex construction projects, and the various factors influencing project relationships. Based on this analysis, a prototype Relationship Management Framework (RMF) was developed. It was then validated and refined by means of four Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with senior construction experts. The resulting final RMF was then tested and its performance was evaluated by means of application to a construction project with publicly documented disagreement between the parties.  The RMF does provide a theory for relationship management in construction projects. It can help lessen the negative impact of potential conflicts and address relationship problems during projects by identifying early warning signs, pinpointing the internal and external factors acting on the project parties, and providing practical guidance. The RMF also provides a foundation for additional research and for development into a practical tool for relationship management in the construction industry.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 July 2028.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsChina Scholarship Council
SupervisorStephen McIlwaine (Supervisor), Greg Keeffe (Supervisor) & Keith McAllister (Supervisor)


  • relationship management
  • construction industry
  • inter-organisational relationships

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