Going downstream in a project-based firm: Integration of distributors in the delivery of complex systems

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    3 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)


    Research on the integration of different actors in project business has centered on the upstream value chain and a project-based firm's relationship with suppliers. The downstream delivery chain also includes an integration challenge as some project-based firms use distributors to sell and deliver systems. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of integrating with distributors in the delivery of complex systems. A qualitative case study was conducted in one project-based firm. Different distributor capabilities were identified and grouped into business, relational, marketing, and delivery capabilities. Different integration mechanisms were mapped at business and project levels, and divided into control-, cooperation-, and development-oriented mechanisms. The findings show that distributor capabilities related to complex system delivery develop through repetitive collaboration across projects. The stable position of distributors in the downstream value chain facilitate the use of integration mechanisms at the business level and development-oriented integration approach at the project level.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-42
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
    Issue number1
    Early online date2018
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Capabilities
    • Distributor integration
    • Distributors
    • System seller

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 2

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Management of Technology and Innovation


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