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Determinants of Coopetition Relationships in International Joint Ventures for High-Speed Rail Projects


The mileage of high-speed rail (HSR) is expected to grow in the foreseeable future. Fierce international competition and HSR business uniqueness have facilitated the broad application of international joint ventures (IJVs) globally. However, the interaction between competition and cooperation complicates IJVs, and IJVs partners’ implementation has rarely been informed concerning the fluent operation of IJVs for HSR projects. This study aims to examine the determinants of IJVs coopetition for HSR projects. We identified 35 variables along with their clusters through literature review and pilot study, and collected data from the international HSR industry using a questionnaire survey. Eight clusters verified by the confirmatory factor analysis come from three levels: macro-level, project-level, and firm-level. Based on the partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM), a path model for the coopetition relationship has been established, demonstrating that macro-level and project-level determinants affect the coopetition relationship via the firm-level determinants. Furthermore, the path model indicates recommendations corresponding to various situations (isolating situation, partnering situation, contending situation, and adapting situation) for IJVs members to find a way to improve the coopetition relationship. Thus, this study not only contributes to the existing knowledge body on coopetition theory, but also enhances HSR contractors’ comprehension of the coopetition relationship determinants as well as the interactions.

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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 72071133, 71771052, 72171048); the Research Project on Humanities and Social Sciences of Hebei Higher Education Institutions (Top Young Scholar Project) (Grant No. BJ2019079); the Fundamental Research Funds for the Hebei Universities (Grant No. SQK202002); the Natural Science Foundation of Hebei (Grant No. G2019210226); the Innovation Funding Project for Graduate Students of Hebei Province (Grant No. CXZZSS2021076); and the Scientific Research Planning Project of China State Railway Group [2020F026].

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Correspondence to Xiaopeng Deng.

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Niu, Y., Li, H., Ye, K. et al. Determinants of Coopetition Relationships in International Joint Ventures for High-Speed Rail Projects. KSCE J Civ Eng 26, 2036–2057 (2022).

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