Holt, Gary David
Contractor selection innovation: examination of two decades' published research.
Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management, 10
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14714171011060097
Purpose – The “problem” of selecting a contractor has attracted significant academic research endeavour over the last two decades. The principal aim here is to examine that research via published academic outputs for the period circa 1990-2009.
Design/methodology/approach – A sample of published contractor selection (CSn) research is critically appraised. Aspects highlighted include: stated aims and research justification; methodological approaches employed; research tools used; and products of CSn research.
Findings – Main research foci are observed as: modelling the CSn process; studying selection criteria; and “interrogation” of existing CSn systems. Foci justifiers are linked mainly to the “importance” and “difficulties” of CSn decision making. Deterministic modelling of CSn is the favoured methodological approach, followed by documentary synthesis then questionnaire surveys. Preferred research tools are found to be system interrogation, rank order analysis and Likert scale/importance indices, with hypothesis testing and “other” methods used less so. Almost two-thirds of research products are CSn models, with derived or proffered processes, and knowledge relating to CSn criteria, between them representing approximately the remaining third of output.
Research limitations/implications – It is suggested that many of the CSn models exhibit as much complexity as the original “problem” they sought to resolve, while the reliability and longevity of suggested “cocktails” of CSn criteria (in practice), might be questioned. A call for future research products to more closely consider end-user impact and potential for “take-up” by industry is made. An empirical follow-on study to assess (inter alia) practitioner use and “value” of CSn research is proposed.
Practical implications – The paper signals a possible need for greater industrial engagement in the research domain.
Originality/value – The findings are novel to this paper.
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