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Investigating the adoption of social media in the construction industry: empirical evidence from project teams in China

Guofeng Ma (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Shan Jiang (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Jianyao Jia (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 10 September 2021

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022

332

Abstract

Purpose

A lack of reliable and effective communication tools poses major barriers impeding the performance of construction projects consisting of diverse participants. Although some construction project teams (CPTs) begin to apply social media (SM) as an available approach for project management the entire mechanism of SM adoption in this specific context remains understudied. Therefore, this study aims to adopt a CPT's lens to investigate the critical antecedents and associated effects underlying SM adoption in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the technology–organization–environment (TOE) theory, a conceptual model was proposed and tested by empirical data collected from 159 CPTs in China. Structural equation modeling technique was employed for data analysis.

Findings

The results demonstrate that all the five extracted TOE-based antecedents including two technological factors (i.e. compatibility and expected cost), one organizational factor (i.e. top management support) and two environmental factors (i.e. project partner collaboration and project fit) are crucial to the adoption of SM in CPTs. Besides, SM acceptance is found to mediate the relationships between organizational and environmental factors and SM use. Moreover, SM use significantly predicts the communication effectiveness of CPTs.

Research limitations/implications

A questionnaire study based on cross-sectional data from China may only unveil the logic of SM adoption in the context of Chinese construction industry within a shorter time interval. It is recommended that future research could develop longitudinal studies among various construction practitioners in different countries to further specify and generalize the current findings.

Originality/value

This paper provides a comprehensive understanding of SM adoption in the construction industry by exploring the preadoption antecedents and postadoption effects from the perspective of project teams. The empirical findings advance the current web-based project management literature and afford new insights for construction practitioners into better managing SM application to reap its full capabilities in projects.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Citation

Ma, G., Jiang, S. and Jia, J. (2022), "Investigating the adoption of social media in the construction industry: empirical evidence from project teams in China", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 29 No. 10, pp. 3948-3969. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-05-2021-0456

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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