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A knowledge framework for blockchain-enabled smart contract adoption in the construction industry

Umesha Sasanthi Weerapperuma (Department of Building Economics, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)
Akila Pramodh Rathnasinghe (Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK)
Himal Suranga Jayasena (Department of Building Economics, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)
Chamitha Sanjani Wijewickrama (School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, The University of Adelaide-North Terrace Campus, Adelaide, Australia)
Niraj Thurairajah (Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 20 July 2023

551

Abstract

Purpose

A novel facet of the construction industry's (CI) digital transformation relates to the rise of smart contracts, and the contribution of blockchain technology in this domain appears to be nascent but rapidly gaining traction. Although the benefits of digitalisation for technologically less enthusiastic CI are irrefutable, the adoption of smart contracts has been found to be low pertaining to industry professionals' behavioural factors stimulated by technological perception. The challenge undertook by this study, therefore, is to develop a knowledge framework for blockchain-enabled smart contract adoption in the CI.

Design/methodology/approach

From a methodological perspective, this study employed a qualitative approach that involved semi-structured interviews with ten (10) highly experienced CI practitioners involved in digital innovations for data collection. Directed content analysis was performed using NVivo 12 software, which enabled the creation of preliminary open codes. Subsequently, these open codes were grouped into similar categories to develop axial codes. Finally, the study presented final themes along with their corresponding descriptions.

Findings

Notably, research findings expanded the current body of knowledge on perceived attributes and their measurement items to determine the perception of innovation adoption in CI, where a total of nine (9) perceived attributes were associated with thirty-two (32) measurement items.

Originality/value

The measurement items were seen as having an extensive impact on the CI professionals' decision to adopt blockchain-enabled smart contracts. With ensuing implications, this study represents one of the first to present a knowledge framework exclusively customised for blockchain-enabled smart contracts, laying the groundwork for effective technological adoption by CI professionals.

Keywords

Citation

Weerapperuma, U.S., Rathnasinghe, A.P., Jayasena, H.S., Wijewickrama, C.S. and Thurairajah, N. (2023), "A knowledge framework for blockchain-enabled smart contract adoption in the construction industry", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-01-2023-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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