chapter  3
24 Pages

The definition of relational contracting in construction as a Wittgenstein family-resemblance concept

An increasing trend of the adoption of RC in construction has received much attention from academics and industrial practitioners in the construction industry since the 1990s (Rahman and Kumaraswamy, 2002, 2004; Rowlinson and Cheung, 2004b). Although more and more academic papers have discussed the characteristics of RC, there is still no consensus on the precise and comprehensive meaning of the concept because various researchers view it differently and the paces of RC development in different countries are quite different. In fact, RC can be characterized as a complicated concept where it has been difficult to reach an agreement on a standard type of definition. An explanation for the increasing number of RC definitions is that the concept is yet to mature. If this is true, a comprehensive and conclusive definition of RC, which states the necessary and sufficient conditions, will finally arise. Nevertheless, the reality is just the opposite. It seems that the first step to clearly understanding the concept of RC in construction is probably to realize that such a definition does not exist for this vague and versatile concept.