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Effective contracting for high operational performance in projects

Kapsali, Maria; Roehrich, Jens K.; Akhtar, Pervaiz


Maria Kapsali

Jens K. Roehrich

Pervaiz Akhtar


Effective contracting for high operational performance in projects Abstract Purpose – This study examines combinations of contract clauses in order to ascertain which combinations correlate to high operational performance. Design/methodology/approach – Two hypotheses were formulated from contracting theory and tested on data collected from 45 projects. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis was used and validated with multiple regression and simulation. Findings – The hypotheses were tested to determine whether combinations of classical, relational and/or associational contract clauses correlate to high operational performance. The results show that, whereas high operational performance correlates to combinations of relational and associational contract clauses, classical and relational clauses should not be combined. Originality/value – This study contributes to the theory of contractual incompleteness and complementarity, specifically in the context of project contracting. The analysis produced two theoretical implications: first, that better performing contracts are created when combining relational and associational contract clauses, and; second, that, in projects, relational and classical contract clauses are not complementary with regards to realising high operational performance. Practical implications – The managerial implications of the findings include a more thorough understanding of the use of contract clauses and of which clauses managers should combine to achieve high operational performance. Research limitations/implications – Directions are proposed to guide future research in order to produce a more nuanced testing of contractual complementarity.


Kapsali, M., Roehrich, J. K., & Akhtar, P. (2019). Effective contracting for high operational performance in projects. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 39(2), 294-325.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2018
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Sep 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 6, 2019
Print ISSN 0144-3577
Electronic ISSN 1758-6593
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 2
Pages 294-325
Keywords Classical and relational contracts; Contract clauses; Operational; Performance, projects
Public URL
Publisher URL


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