Collaborative risk management in complex construction projects

Liisa Lehtiranta

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    Construction project success depends on efficient and effective risk management (RM) and collaborative working. Standard RM frameworks are currently focused on single-firm organizations, whereas in practice, construction project RM involves multiple organizations. Therefore, the adaptation of RM frameworks frequently requires stretching the standard RM framework to embrace a multi-organizational perspective. However, there is a lack of guidance and established structures for operating risk management as a collaborative process among several participating organizations. Multi-organizational RM processes are mainly overlooked in prior literature, standards, and frameworks. The dissertation applies a constructive research approach, i.e., it focuses on an identified pragmatic project business problem, develops a (potentially) functional solution, i.e., constructs, assesses the construct's functionality and practice and demonstrates its theoretical connections. The research is divided into six studies (Articles I-VI), which include their individual goals, data, and methods. The methodology represents a mixed methods approach where both qualitative and quantitative studies are used as a complementary combination. The purpose of the dissertation is to develop a systematic framework for multi-organizational RM (MORM) in construction management (CM) projects. The framework is founded on utilizing and supporting collaborative working among project participant organizations. The development of the framework is based on the adaptation of the single-organizational standard project RM process (PMBOK) and informed by complexity thinking, which recommends integration, communication, and flexibility. The MORM framework provides guidance on the roles and activities of CM project owners, design group, project consultants, and contractors throughout the project lifecycle. Therefore, this research provides a rare explication of parallel multi-organizational RM processes. The framework is theoretically justified, empirically grounded, and partly tested in practice. The practical contribution of the MORM framework is to enable construction project owners and managers to initiate their RM collaboration and involve focal participants more easily and efficiently. The framework supports managing emerging risks and taking flexible stance on risk responsibilities, which are a key to RM success in dynamic project environments. The theoretical contribution of the research is related to the application of complexity thinking and the reflections of the results to complex project management research.
    Translated title of the contributionRiskienhallintayhteistyön kehittäminen projektinjohtohankkeissa
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Saari, Arto, Supervising Professor
    • Kärnä, Sami, Thesis Advisor
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-5640-1
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5641-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • risk management
    • collaboration
    • complexity
    • construction project
    • project organization
    • multi-organization
    • construction management


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