Understanding Supply Chain Integration as Recoupling

Lasse Fredslund, Stefan Gottlieb, Roine Leiringer

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


The Danish construction industry commonly addresses supply chain issues at the project level by focusing on practical problems on site. In consequence, the industry dedicates considerable resources on fighting day-to-day issues instead of embracing a more cross-organizational approach of Construction Supply Chain Management (CSCM). In this paper, we examine the attempts of one of Scandinavia's major contractor groups to achieve CSCM integration and align cross-organizational practices of the supply chain. We present a case study of two subsidiaries in the group using data from observations, surveys and interviews. Drawing on Neoinstitutional theory with emphasis on the concepts of coupling and decoupling, we examine the interplay between institutional pressure and organizational responses. In our discussion, we argue that the coordination of the supply chain is decoupled from the strategic level through its constricted focus on the performance of specific projects. We then go on to illustrate how the company's efforts centre on assuming a role as CSCM integrator by involving key stakeholders of the supply chain to recouple weak links between decision-making and organizational practices. In conclusion, we argue that the company attempts to achieve CSCM integration by generating market-legitimacy. However, the constant creation of new project organizations, the existence of decentralized supply networks as well as informal authority of project managers to select or deselect procurement policies leads to various types of organizational decoupling. Accordingly, there exists a competing environment of conflicting demands and divergent incentive structures, which is an on-going challenge for the necessary alignment of cross-organizational CSCM integration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2019 - Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference
EditorsChris Gorse, Christopher J Neilson
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationLeeds
PublisherARCOM - Association of Researchers in Construction Management
Publication date2019
ISBN (Electronic)9780995546349
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventARCOM 2019: 35th Annual Conference: Productivity, performance and quality conundrum - Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sept 20194 Sept 2019
Conference number: 35


ConferenceARCOM 2019: 35th Annual Conference
LocationLeeds Beckett University
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • CSCM
  • decoupling
  • productivity and institutional theory
  • recoupling


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