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Ethical behaviour in the design phase of AEC projects

Jardar Lohne (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Fredrik Svalestuen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Vegard Knotten (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Frode Olav Drevland (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Ola Lædre (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 4 April 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on studies on the ethics in the design phase in Norwegian construction projects. The ambition is to establish a descriptive picture of ethical challenges practitioners meet in the design phase in order to raise awareness among them.

Design/methodology/approach

In addition to a literature review and a document study of ethical frameworks within the industry, interviews with key participants were carried out according to a qualitative approach. The study was undertaken in order to address framework conditions for handling ethically challenging situations, challenges of an ethical nature practitioners commonly encounter in the design phase and finally the structural (systemic) reasons for such challenges.

Findings

This research finds indications of actors manoeuvring in the design phase for own benefit at the expense of other actors. The findings equally indicate that the design phase poses significant challenges in light of tender documents pricing and exploiting cost reimbursement contracts. In some of the projects examined, participants shifted loyalty after novation contracting and they actively tried to steer the decision processes in their own favour.

Originality/value

There does in fact seem to be perceptions of a room of manoeuvre between what is unlawful and what is ethically sound in this phase.

Keywords

Citation

Lohne, J., Svalestuen, F., Knotten, V., Drevland, F.O. and Lædre, O. (2017), "Ethical behaviour in the design phase of AEC projects", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 330-345. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-06-2016-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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