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Bridging the gap: assessing the person-organization fit between BIM education and industry expectations in Australia

Lama Abu Alieh (Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
M. Reza Hosseini (Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Igor Martek (Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Wei Wu (California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)
Mehrdad Arashpour (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 25 March 2024

175

Abstract

Purpose

A lack of suitably qualified Building Information Modelling (BIM) professionals is understood to be a major barrier towards higher uptakes of BIM in the Australian construction industry. In response, Australian universities have tried to integrate the teaching of BIM into construction-related curricula, but with limited success. The acknowledged impediment is the lingering mismatch between what universities offer and what industry actually needs. However, the exact nature of that mismatch has yet to be identified. This study addresses that knowledge gap. It assesses both the current status of BIM competencies among university graduates and explores how BIM education at Australian universities may be improved to deliver BIM work readiness, as required by the industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employed a qualitative research approach, utilizing 17 semi-structured interviews with experts in the Australian BIM industry. The Person-Organization (PO) fit theory, which emphasizes the congruence between individual and organizational characteristics, was utilized as a theoretical framework to examine the compatibility between “demand” and “ability” perspectives. The resulting data were analysed using this theoretical framework to gain insights into the PO fit perspectives in relation to BIM industry practices.

Findings

Findings reveal that graduates are generally competent regarding the use of BIM software. However, employers require much more than software skills, and expect recruits to have the capability to implement BIM as a process according to information management standards. Specifically, graduates are significantly deficient in matters of BIM protocols, collaboration and coordination, information workflows as well as completion and handover procedures.

Originality/value

This study is the first of its kind that bridges the gap between industry expectations and university education, in the Australian context, moving beyond the common discourse in education literature, which is exclusively focused on assessing students’ perceptions about BIM.

Keywords

Citation

Abu Alieh, L., Hosseini, M.R., Martek, I., Wu, W. and Arashpour, M. (2024), "Bridging the gap: assessing the person-organization fit between BIM education and industry expectations in Australia", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-04-2023-0366

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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