Architects and contractors: A comparative study of organizational cultures

N. A. Ankrah, D. A. Langford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conflicts between project participants have been identified in various construction industry reports as being one of the principal causes of poor performance on construction projects. These conflicts occur at the interface level in one respect because participants have different objectives and different organizational cultures which define their approach to work and relationship with the other project participants. This research was therefore undertaken to investigate and identify the organizational cultures of two significant players in the project coalition - architects and contractors - on the premise that by revealing specific cultural characteristics and orientations, establishing significant areas of difference and initiating discussion on some of the implications for conflicts and project performance, the context would have been set for assessing and understanding the behaviour of these project participants. A questionnaire survey based on some specific indices of organizational culture conducted on these two groups of participants revealed that in terms of specific traits, significant differences exist in task organization, sources of power and influence, control and coordination, formality, people issues and nature of tasks. The implications are that conflicts are likely to occur within the project coalition at the interface level where human interaction elements occur and this could detract from achieving project objectives. Awareness of these differences, however, improves the chances of achieving the right balance when constructing the team and this could lead to the development of synergy and good 'project chemistry' with positive consequences for overall project performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-607
Number of pages13
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005


  • Architects
  • Construction industry
  • Contractors
  • Organizational culture
  • Project coalition


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