Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to explore the process of change within organisations in the construction sector related to the content of change called for by reformers such as Egan, Latham, Constructing Excellence and the “rethinking construction” movement. The concept of supply chain management is used within the research to facilitate this kind of exploration. Design/methodology/approach – The broad framework adopted in the paper is contextual in nature and informed by structuration theory and new institutionalism. The approach followed is a case study method that looks for literal replication across a number of cases. Findings – Supply chain management is found to be both synonymous with the concept of partnering and particularly problematic for organisations to implement within the construction sector due to specific contextual factors. Research limitations/implications – All methodological positions have limitations. Like all research this piece of work is the product of choices that could have been different and achieved different outcomes. Originality/value – The findings support a view that contextual approaches provide greater insight into the problematic nature of change in the construction sector and concerns regarding the development of a robust, relevant and sustainable agenda for change within the sector.
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