Saturday, 15 November 2008

Dubai Conference

Peter Raisbeck from University of Melbourne presented a couple of papers in the CIB Dubai Conference about various aspects of public-private partnerships (PPP) in the construction sector. One of them caught my interest, where he had used analytical hierarchy process (AHP), something that is usually completely uninteresting to me. He used AHP to deal with the responses he got from a survey of perceptions in Australia about PPP projects. I was very interested in how the AHP approach had enabled him to sort out important from unimportant issues, and say something interesting about the relationships between issues. When he said the survey instrument was online, I immediately thought of the value of re-running the exact same survey in several countries at once. I have tried international surveys before, and it is very difficult to catch the interest of practitioners when you are not even based in their country. In this case, though, I could easily imagine asking several hundred practitioners who deal with PPP projects to complete an on-line survey about what they think is important. I also thought that this could be simultaneiously carried out in a number of other countries, such as Hong Kong and Sweden, both of which were represented in the room at the time. It was great being able to pluck out of the air something that could be quickly and easily put together among colleagues all over the world, knowing that the output would be interesting enough for future papers. Conference papers would be easy enough, but I hope that such a simple exercise in an international comparison of perceptions might also be robust enough for journal papers. I am hopeful that we can give this a go.

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