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BIM and systemic ICT innovation in AEC: Perceived needs and actor’s degrees of freedom

Vishal Singh (Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 1 July 2014




This paper aims to present a behavioural perspective on systemic innovation adoption decisions and resulting patterns in architecture engineering and construction (AEC). Building on the premise that innovation is always coupled with need identification or need creation, the paper analyses the systemic innovation-related needs and decisions of AEC actors.


This research uses grounded theory to collect data through interviews, focus groups and field observation in Australian AEC. Based on the findings, three types of systemic innovation-related needs are identified to describe the dependencies in innovation-related needs of various actors in the construction innovation network, namely, need for the innovation, need to innovate and the need for the diffusion of innovation.


It is found that the systemic innovation-related needs of actors in AEC network are interrelated. However, the systemic innovation-related decisions and, hence, the diffusion patterns are mediated by the degrees of freedom of the actors. Accordingly, it is argued that higher degrees of freedom of followers or the majority actors in AEC (to leave the innovation network) partially explain the slower rate of systemic innovation diffusion in AEC. Findings have implications on how systemic innovations in construction should be analysed and managed at the ecosystem level through an improved understanding of the interdependent innovation-related needs of the stakeholders.


Innovation-related needs’ perspective provides novel and fresh insights into systemic innovation diffusion patterns in AEC and emphasises the significance of an ecosystem viewpoint to assess the roles of the different actors in AEC innovation network. The role of the degrees of freedoms of AEC actors in mediating systemic innovation diffusion is established.



Singh, V. (2014), "BIM and systemic ICT innovation in AEC: Perceived needs and actor’s degrees of freedom", Construction Innovation, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 292-306.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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