Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/119032
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Type: Journal article
Title: Effects of contractual flexibility on conflict and project success in megaprojects
Author: Wu, G.
Zhao, X.
Zuo, J.
Zillante, G.
Citation: International Journal of Conflict Management, 2018; 29(2):253-278
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Ltd.
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1044-4068
1044-4068
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao, Jian Zuo and George Zillante
Abstract: Purpose: This study aims to investigate the influence of contractual flexibility on different types of conflict, determine if contractual flexibility is significantly correlated with project success between contracting parties, verify the mediating effect of project conflicts on the relationship between contractual flexibility and project success and examine the relationship between different types of conflicts and project success in megaprojects. Design/methodology/approach: A theoretical model was developed and a structured questionnaire survey was conducted with 468 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was used to analyze the data. Findings: The results showed that both types of contractual flexibility – term and process flexibility – were correlated with and significantly positively affected project success, and term flexibility was found to have a greater influence. The introduction of project conflicts significantly weakened the relationship between contractual flexibility and project success, verifying the partial mediating effect of conflicts. All types of project conflicts play a destructive role in achieving project success; relationship conflict had the largest negative effect. Contractual flexibility affects two paths with respect to project success: the direct path (contractual flexibility → project success) and the indirect path (contractual flexibility → conflict → project success). The direct effect of contractual flexibility on project success is positive; the corresponding indirect effect is negative. The direct effect is greater than the corresponding indirect effect. Research limitations/implications: Different types of conflicts may mutually transform to extent certain degree. However, this study did not address the potential influence of conflict transformation on project success. The results implied that more emphasis should be placed on contractual terms, particularly on developing flexible terms in the contractual document, when implementing megaprojects. Meanwhile, this study reveals the effects of conflicts on project success in megaprojects, which provides a useful reference for project stakeholders to avoid the negative effect of conflicts. Practical implications: This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between contractual flexibility, types of conflicts in megaprojects and a reliable reference for the project manager to effectively deal with these related issues. This implies the contracting parties strengthen communication and cooperation to establish a trust mechanism, while reducing the negative influence of project conflicts and enhancing the positive effect of contractual flexibility. Originality/value: Few studies have investigated the effects of contractual flexibility on conflict and project success in megaprojects; this study contributes significant theoretical and practical insights to contract management and conflict management and provides a reliable reference to achieve project success.
Keywords: Structural equation modelling; conflict; project success; megaproject; contractual flexibility
Rights: © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018 Published by Emerald Publishing Limited Licensed re-use rights only
RMID: 0030079774
DOI: 10.1108/IJCMA-06-2017-0051
Appears in Collections:Architecture publications

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