Theory to practice: A typology of supply chain management in construction

Stuart Tennant, Scott Fernie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Supply chain management in construction continues to attract considerable academic and industry interest. With its origin in manufacturing, successful implementation of supply chain management is argued to enhance customer value whilst simultaneously reducing business costs. In the UK construction industry, supply chain management strategies remain largely synonymous with best practice initiatives such as construction partnering, strategic alliances and more recently construction framework agreements. In contrast to this arguably misleading and impoverished viewpoint, the purpose of this research is to develop fresh perspectives and present a contextually sympathetic typology of supply chain management in construction. Drawing on new organizational institutionalism, economic governance and transactional cost economics (TCE), the utility and performance of supply chain management in construction is portrayed as rational choice among multiple strategies, instrumentally bound by contract and context. This contextually sensitive interpretation of supply chain management captures complex, diverse and often unique characteristics of construction practice. Challenging mainstream assessment of supply chain management can clearly help construction stakeholders focus attention on discrete supply chain strategies that best suit their organizational and project needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Construction Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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