Modelling knowledge integration process in early contractor involvement procurement at tender stage - A Western Australian case study
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Purpose - This paper aims to disseminate the knowledge integration process modelling throughout the phases of the early contractor involvement (ECI) procurement methodology, to optimise the benefit of ECI procurement method. The development of the model was aimed at taking advantage from the associated benefits of integrating knowledge and of ECI procurement. ECI provides contractors with an alternative means to tendering, designing and constructing projects. Thus, this paper explores knowledge interconnectivity and its integration involving numerous disciplines with various stakeholders to benefit from the collaborative environment of ECI. Design/methodology/approach - The methodology implemented in the research includes a thorough literature review to establish the characteristics of the ECI tender stage as well as the characteristics of knowledge to be integrated in an ECI setting. Following this, an embedded case study research methodology was used involving three healthcare ECI projects undertaken by a Western Australian commercial contractor through 20 semi-structured interviews and project archival study, followed by the development of knowledge integration process models throughout the ECI process of the studied cases. Findings - The research findings provide the basis to develop a knowledge integration process model throughout the ECI stages. The tender stage was found to be the most crucial stage for knowledge integration, particularly from the main contractor's perspective to impart change and to influence the project outcome. The outcome of this research identifies the richness and interconnectivity of knowledge throughout the knowledge integration process in an ECI project starting from the intra-organisational knowledge integration process followed by the inter-organisational process of knowledge integration. This inside-out perspective of knowledge integration also revealed the need for mapping the implementation of knowledge integration from instrumental to incremental approach throughout the ECI stages in optimising the intended benefits of integrating knowledge. Originality/value - This paper reports the development of a knowledge integration process model with the view to optimise the management effectiveness of integrating knowledge in ECI projects. Although knowledge integration and ECI can be considered existing and widely accepted concepts, the novelty of this research lies in the specific use of the knowledge integration process to analyse the knowledge flow, transformation and, hence, management in ECI projects. As it has been acknowledged that knowledge integration is beneficial but also a complex process, the methodology implemented here in modelling the process can be used as the basis to model knowledge integration in other ECI projects to further capitalise from ECI as a collaborative procurement method.
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