Key drivers for informal project coordination among sub-contractors: A case study of the offshore wind energy sector

Annabeth Aagaard, Pernille Eskerod, Erik Skov Madsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – Despite good project front-end planning, projects typically need continuous coordination among the participants concerning scope of work, pace, and timing during the execution phase to be accomplished without delays. Coordination can be formal or informal. Research shows that informal coordination of residual and unforeseen interdependencies enhances time saving and facilitates better understandings. Still though, many sub-contractors choose not to coordinate informally. The purpose of this paper is to identify drivers that enhance or inhibit informal coordination among sub-contractors during project execution. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative, explorative case study approach was applied, involving 15 SME sub-contractors within the offshore wind power energy sector. Findings – Six drivers which enhance informal coordination and three drivers which inhibit informal coordination among sub-contractors in projects were identified. Practical implications – The findings imply that management in project-oriented organizations can enhance informal coordination across project sub-contractors in the project execution phase by facilitating trust building; by emphasizing previous collaboration successes with the sub-contractors and the possibility of future common projects; by being explicit about expectations on informal coordination; and by developing sub-contractor contracts that are not very tight in economic terms, but instead give some leeway in relation to coordination. Originality/value – The paper contributes to a gap on coordination within projects and in the specificity of the context of offshore wind energy in which the concept of informal coordination across sub-contractors is explored.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)222-240
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 7. Apr 2015


  • Project management
  • Coordination
  • Integration challenge
  • Inter-firm projects
  • Offshore wind energy
  • Sub-contractors


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