Integration and the hold-up problem in the design organization for engineering projects

Vedran Zerjav, Timo Hartmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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The paper presents a perspective of the design organization in engineering projects based on the economic concept of the hold-up problem. By integrating the economic theories on the boundaries of organizations into the existing knowledge on design in engineering projects, the paper hypothesizes a theoretical framework that represents the design organization in the context of the hold-up problem. The framework is illustrated with findings from an interpretive study of a large-scale engineering project that faced design integration issues that are well explained by the hold-up problem. The findings suggest the specific nature of the hold-up problem in design organizations which calls for a managerial mindset based on the concept of the social network and relational contracting instead of the typical project management reasoning based on static hierarchies of scope and controlling mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking paper series, proceedings of the engineering project organization conference (EPOC 2012), July 10-12, 2012, Rheden, The Netherlands
EditorsA. Javernick-Will, P. Chinowsky
Place of PublicationEstes Park, Colorado
PublisherUniversity of Colorado
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2012
EventEngineering Project Organization Conference, EPOC 2012 - Rheden, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Jul 201212 Jul 2012

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Colorado


ConferenceEngineering Project Organization Conference, EPOC 2012
Abbreviated titleEPOC
Internet address


  • IR-81185
  • METIS-287613

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