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Implementation of innovation by manufacturers subcontracting to construction projects

Karen Manley (Project Management Academy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 2 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore the role played by manufacturers of patented products on construction projects.


Four projects are reviewed to investigate the research question “How can manufacturers ensure the successful implementation of their product innovations on construction projects?”


Using a framework comprising six key innovation determinants, case‐study analysis demonstrates the critical role played by relationships and knowledge‐flows in creating conditions that support project‐based innovation by manufacturers. Such conditions comprise: advanced procurement systems, robust internal firm competencies, performance‐based regulations, effective technical support providers, and project‐imbedded manufacturers.

Research limitations/implications

The study was designed to meet industry needs and hence does not emphasise theoretical aspects.

Practical implications

Manufacturers can improve the diffusion of their product innovations on construction projects by using relationship networks to promote the above conditions, or to locate contexts where such conditions prevail, or to leverage those conditions that are most favourable.


The paper addresses four gaps in the construction management literature: there is very little literature on the role of manufacturers in innovation on construction projects; the literature on subcontractors tends to assume easily substitutable supplies; there is a focus in the literature on large projects, and the literature is dominated by quantitative studies. By undertaking a qualitative analysis of manufacturers of patented products subcontracting to small projects, this paper addresses the above shortcomings.



Manley, K. (2008), "Implementation of innovation by manufacturers subcontracting to construction projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 230-245.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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