Partnering in construction has been presented as a potentially important way of improving construction project performance through the direct benefits it can bring to both clients and contractors. However, there is still considerable debate about the nature and merits of a partnering approach. This paper attempts to contribute towards this debate by exploring the presumed link between partnering and cultural change within the industry, at both organizational and interorganizational levels of analysis. To do so, it draws upon theory and research from the social sciences (especially organizational theory) to explore some of the issues, problems and dilemmas which emerge when full and proper account is taken of the complexities of organizations, as well as some of the subtleties and intricacies of the concept of organizational culture. The paper concludes that it is only by fully appreciating the effects of such complexity that a more realistic and practical approach to the development and implementation of partnering will emerge.