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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


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


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.


  • Capabilities, Distributor integration, Distributors, System seller

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland