This paper aims to present findings from research undertaken in Australian construction companies that describes some issues faced in the management of records on large‐scale projects.
Ethnographic data were collected from several projects by observations, interviews and looking at records management systems. Thematic analysis was employed, where common descriptions of practice and frequency of themes emerged.
This paper found three themes Australian construction companies experience in daily records work. A construction project's pace means project staff create records, but neglect to share them amongst other team members. Secondly, there are differences between overseas trained project staff and local staff in the way they give importance to records management issues. Thirdly, the pace of modern construction projects and managing the many data types that now make up records causes difficulty in keeping records current. Learnt work habits and resistance to changing practices is common despite pressures to ensure records are current, accurate and easily retrievable.
The paper's findings discuss the merits and drawbacks of ethnographic research suggesting strategies for undertaking such work. Using ethnographic methods is a way of uncovering micro‐level reasons for resistance to change and what work practices hinder successful records management. These findings produce an account of daily practice that provides detailed information to management to identify areas of change.
This paper provides a description of one way of researching records management issues and an insight into such issues occurring in the Australian construction industry.
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