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Prioritizing quality over profit: value trade-offs within architect-client relations

Marina Bos-de Vos, Leentje Volker en Hans Wamelink

Architectural service delivery involves a complex system of economic and quality related value dimensions, which are mutually dependent and prioritized differently by actors. Responding to professional logics as well as organizational logics, value creation goals of architects and clients are multidimensional, resulting in tensions
within and across collaborating organizations. Value related tensions are evident in organizations, as has been illustrated by paradox research. However, studies on how these tensions are handled in the interaction process of collaborating organizations are still fairly limited. This explorative research focusses on value trade-offs within
architect-client relations. Twenty in-depth interviews with architects and their respective clients are used to explore how economic and quality related values are negotiated by actors from collaborating organizations. Results indicate that the value negotiation process is largely dominated by tensions between profit and project quality. An analysis of two situations provides in-depth information on how architects and clients either follow an individual or mutual strategy to prioritise quality over profit. This research contributes to the theory development on value management in the construction process and helps practitioners to more consciously and efficiently handle tensions in order to improve shared value creation.

Keywords: architect-client interaction, collaboration, paradox, value.