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Article

ANDREW R.J. DAINTY, BARBARA M. BAGILHOLE and RICHARD H. NEALE

In order to retain and motivate employees, organizations must respond to their expectations, both in terms of meeting formal aspects of their employment contracts and in…

Abstract

In order to retain and motivate employees, organizations must respond to their expectations, both in terms of meeting formal aspects of their employment contracts and in addressing their less formal expectations of the employment relationship. Within the current human resources management (HRM) literature, these informal expectations are known as psychological contracts. This paper reports on research that explored psychological contracts within the construction industry. In‐depth interviews were held with more than 80 construction managers and professional staff who worked for five large UK contracting organizations. The interviewees were asked to describe their career histories, and to discuss any tensions between the personnel policies of their organizations and their personal career aspirations and expectations. It emerged that responsibility for human resource development (HRD) had been largely devolved to divisional and operational management. This led to HRD becoming fragmented and unresponsive, and to employees becoming disillusioned by their employers' failure to meet their expectations. It is argued that construction companies require a more sophisticated understanding of their employees' expectations of the employment relationship if they are to be retained in the long term.

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Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

David R. Moore, Mei‐I Cheng and Andrew R.J. Dainty

A number of confusions within the area of performance assessment with regard to the use of terminology, and differing interpretations, regarding competence assessment are…

Abstract

A number of confusions within the area of performance assessment with regard to the use of terminology, and differing interpretations, regarding competence assessment are discussed. A significant difference between the US and UK approaches to performance assessment is identified as being the issue of behaviours. A hierarchy of terms and their specific meanings is proposed as a first step in addressing the identified confusions. A particular aspect of this hierarchy is its relevance to assessment based on behaviours and attitudes rather than simply on the results of functional analysis concerning a particular job. This has implications for the future direction of performance assessment in the UK, particularly with regard to identifying the differences between average and superior performance.

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Work Study, vol. 51 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0043-8022

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Article

David R. Moore and Andrew R.J. Dainty

Growing emphasis on meeting client needs and improving project performance within the construction industry has led to increasing use of fully integrated “design and…

Abstract

Growing emphasis on meeting client needs and improving project performance within the construction industry has led to increasing use of fully integrated “design and build” (D&B) construction project teams. Advocates of the D&B system contend that integrating design and construction this way leads to a seamless procurement process, improved team relationships, and a more efficiently delivered product. This article reports on research which explored the operational efficiency of such integrated project teams. The findings suggest that despite the benefits of integration, cultural and professional interfaces remain which impair team performance and undermine structural change management protocols. This effectively leaves the team operating as work‐groups in a similar way as they would under a traditionally procured contract, with the construction team excluded from the change management process. A methodology is proposed for exploring these discontinuities in detail, and addressing intra‐work‐group conflicts which threaten the continued development of D&B within the sector.

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Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 5 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article

Andrew R.J. Dainty, Alan Bryman and Andrew D.F. Price

The feasibility and success of empowerment are to some extent determined by factors relating to the culture and structure of the industries within which organizations are…

Abstract

The feasibility and success of empowerment are to some extent determined by factors relating to the culture and structure of the industries within which organizations are embedded. The UK construction industry is an example that has a unique socio‐technical context, some aspects of which seem well‐suited to empowerment strategies. However, despite support for empowerment, it has not yet been universally embraced by construction organizations. Outlines the aspects of the industry that provide a suitable context for implementation of empowerment strategies. Suggests that, used selectively, it could play an important part in helping construction organizations to address increasing performance demands whilst mitigating the negative effects of the fragmented project delivery process. However, there remain many barriers to individual and team‐based empowerment strategies that require empirical investigation before the industry can benefit from their implementation.

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Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article

Abigail Powell, Barbara M. Bagilhole and Andrew R.J. Dainty

It has been suggested that organisations with a better balance, or critical mass, of women would be more tolerant of difference and foster the inclusion of other women…

Abstract

Purpose

It has been suggested that organisations with a better balance, or critical mass, of women would be more tolerant of difference and foster the inclusion of other women. This paper seeks to investigate whether a strategy of critical mass can really work in the engineering sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The data are based on research funded by the ESRC, and problematise critical mass theory through semi‐structured qualitative interviews and focus groups with female students from a range of engineering disciplines.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that women engineering students accept gender discrimination, view the industry positively, value their “novelty” status, and are critical of other women.

Research limitations/implications

While these attitudes may be a result of women's assimilation into the existing engineering culture, they do little to further women's cause in engineering. Furthermore, it points to both the necessity, and difficulties, of transforming the engineering culture to ensure that the engineering professions are a place where women can not only survive but also thrive.

Originality/value

While previous research has addressed the critical mass of women in science, engineering and technology, this research critiques critical mass theory, not only because women continue to remain isolated within the sector, despite increasing numbers, but also because many women engineers reinforce the masculine culture within engineering.

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Equal Opportunities International, vol. 25 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Article

Ani B. Raidén and Andrew R.J. Dainty

The concept of the learning organisation (LO) is associated with an advanced approach to human resource development (HRD) characterised by an ethos of self‐responsibility…

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of the learning organisation (LO) is associated with an advanced approach to human resource development (HRD) characterised by an ethos of self‐responsibility and self‐development. The learning climate that this engenders is supported by temporary organisational structures responsive to environmental change. The purpose of his paper is to present case study research of the HRD strategy, policy and practice of a large UK‐based construction contractor in relation to the concept of LO.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data for the examination of the “chaordic” LO were drawn from recent doctoral research that investigated a large UK‐based construction contractor's strategic human resource management practices.

Findings

The analysis suggests that the organisational project‐based structure and informal culture combine to form a “chaordic LO”. A “chaordic enterprise” comprises a complex organisation that operates in a non‐linear dynamic environment. However, it appears that this approach has evolved unintentionally rather than as a result of targeted strategic human resource management (SHRM) policies, which in turn reflects a genuine commitment to advanced HRD.

Originality/value

The findings render previous assertions that the industry fails to invest in its employees highly questionable. They suggest a need for further research to reveal how such approaches can be captured in replicate in the future.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article

Andrew R.J. Dainty, Barbara M. Bagilhole and Richard H. Neale

There have been a number of significant research projects that have explored aspects of women’s under‐representation and underachievement within the UK construction…

Abstract

There have been a number of significant research projects that have explored aspects of women’s under‐representation and underachievement within the UK construction industry. These have demonstrated that, given an appropriate level of knowledge and insight, women could be attracted to the sector in greater numbers. However, they have also suggested that if women are to remain in the sector in the long‐term, then efforts must be made to ensure an equitable workplace environment. Presents the findings of research that explored the attitudes of both male and female construction professionals to a range of equality measures. There was a significant difference between their responses to most of the measures, as men were opposed to initiatives that threatened the current culture of the industry’s operating environment. A strategy of selectively implementing measures with some degree of consensus between men and women is suggested. Measures to promote equality in construction must offer mutual benefits to men and women if they are to be successful.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article

Andrew R.J. Dainty, Richard H. Neale and Barbara M. Bagilhole

The UK construction industry has significantly increased the number of women that it attracts, due to an active marketing campaign by the industry’s representative bodies…

Abstract

The UK construction industry has significantly increased the number of women that it attracts, due to an active marketing campaign by the industry’s representative bodies. However, this initiative does not appear to have been based on sound empirical evidence that women professionals will be afforded equal opportunities once they have entered the industry. This article reports on a research project which explored women’s careers in construction. Interviews were held with over 40 matched pairs of male and female construction professionals in order to establish the gender differentiated influences on career progression within the industry. The analysis revealed a hostile and discriminatory environment for women, in which pressures created by the demanding work environment were compounded by overt resentment from male managers and colleagues. It is argued that women’s careers are unlikely to progress in parity with men’s until the male culture of the industry has been moderated.

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Career Development International, vol. 4 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article

James R. Henderson, Kirti D. Ruikar and Andrew R.J. Dainty

The purpose of this paper is to report the empirical findings of a survey aimed to investigate the need to improve cross‐phase learning between design and construction…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the empirical findings of a survey aimed to investigate the need to improve cross‐phase learning between design and construction. Through exploring the need to introduce a design‐construction feedback loop, combined with the barriers against its development, an expansion of knowledge surrounding the deficiencies of current practice is provided.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports the results from an online survey conducted in spring 2011 targeted at experienced personnel in the planning, design, construction and facilities management phases of healthcare infrastructure projects.

Findings

The current approach of detecting and correcting errors is significantly hindering the extent to which learning from previous experiences is taking place. It is shown that improved integration between design and construction is required in the form of improved feedback if continuous improvement in the areas of efficiency, quality, value and general learning from previous experiences/projects is to be achieved.

Research limitations/implications

The focused population of this study limits the extent to which the findings can be generalised. However, it is viewed that this context is potentially one of the most complex and unique project participant arrangements to overcome. Therefore if the need and ability to share learning outcomes across such a complex arrangement can be achieved, then it may be easier within traditional arrangements.

Practical implications

The practical implications of moving away from single‐loop learning towards a double‐loop learning approach are provided.

Originality/value

This paper identifies that there is a distinct need for further efforts to be applied in the area of improving feedback between the phases of design and construction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Mei‐I. Cheng, Andrew R.J. Dainty and David R. Moore

To report on the development of a new, more balanced approach to managing the performance of key employees in project‐based organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

To report on the development of a new, more balanced approach to managing the performance of key employees in project‐based organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Following the establishment of the role‐based criteria for performance excellence through focus groups and subsequent factor analysis, performance profiles of a range of superior and average performing managers were compiled. These were based on behavioural event interviews (BEIs) from which job, person and role‐based aspects were derived. The final performance model was validated through assessments with an expert panel of HRM specialists.

Findings

This research has developed and demonstrated the potential of a more holistic approach to managing performance which includes reference to the job requirements, personal behaviours and the role context. It was found to be particularly suitable to measuring managers' performance in dynamic team‐based environments.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical work upon which the new performance framework is based was derived from a limited study within two construction organizations. Future work will explore the applicability of the approach within other organizations and industries.

Practical implications

Applying this framework to key HRM activities has the potential to improve the ways in which companies manage, develop and retain their key managerial resources. Notably, they should be able to engender a more participative, developmental approach to the HRM function, thereby helping to ensure sustained performance improvements in the future and improved resource usage effectiveness.

Originality/value

The paper presents the basis for a completely new performance management paradigm which embeds managerial competence/competency in a way which more accurately reflects the realities of managerial practice.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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