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Knowledge production and capabilities – their importance and challenges for construction organisations in China

Charles Egbu (School of the Built and Natural Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland, UK)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 1 September 2006

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to address the importance of knowledge production and capabilities for the construction industry; and the implications of the challenges associated with their effective exploitation for the construction industry in China.

Design/methodology/approach

A thorough review of extant literature and 31 detailed semi‐structured interviews with practitioners from 14 large, medium and small organisations in the UK construction industry. Content analysis was adopted as the analytical approach.

Findings

The main triggers of knowledge production in the construction industry are: the need to effectively deal with complex projects; the effective use of new, innovative building materials, systems, services; managing change (both project change and organisational change); coping with the uniqueness of projects; and managing team member interfaces (e.g. consultant‐contractor). Knowledge production is a complex process which can occur through a number of ways (e.g. formal research, reflective practice, transformation and combination of existing knowledge). Organisational culture influences knowledge production both positively and negatively.

Originality/value

This paper addresses the main ways in which knowledge production can benefit construction organisations and can impact positively to organisational innovations. It addresses the role of leadership and culture in knowledge production in organisations. Skilled and competent workforce is key in knowledge production, especially in addressing problem‐solving situations. Appropriate and focused training programmes (e.g. continuing professional development events, other short courses, in‐house programmes‐mentoring, coaching, and job rotation) are important in stimulating approaches for improved knowledge production in organisations. As shortages of skilled personnel are rife in construction in China, organisations need to take the issue of knowledge production more seriously.

Keywords

Citation

Egbu, C. (2006), "Knowledge production and capabilities – their importance and challenges for construction organisations in China", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 304-321. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468770610704967

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited