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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2004

A.M. Blayse and K. Manley

The goal of this paper is to identify the main factors driving or hindering construction innovation. An analysis of the relevant literature indicates there are six primary…

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to identify the main factors driving or hindering construction innovation. An analysis of the relevant literature indicates there are six primary influences: (1) clients and manufacturers; (2) the structure of production; (3) relationships between individuals and firms within the industry and between the industry and external parties; (4) procurement systems; (5) regulations/standards; and (6) the nature and quality of organizational resources. Attention to these factors by businesses and public policy makers would be a key component of effective innovation strategy and policy. Further research is needed, however, to explore the relationships between innovation influences, and between innovation influences and other aspects of business strategy and environment, in the context of broader societal considerations. Further research should also identify quantitative estimates of the impact of innovation on the construction industry.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2008

Karen Manley

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role played by manufacturers of patented products on construction projects.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role played by manufacturers of patented products on construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Four projects are reviewed to investigate the research question “How can manufacturers ensure the successful implementation of their product innovations on construction projects?”

Findings

Using a framework comprising six key innovation determinants, case‐study analysis demonstrates the critical role played by relationships and knowledge‐flows in creating conditions that support project‐based innovation by manufacturers. Such conditions comprise: advanced procurement systems, robust internal firm competencies, performance‐based regulations, effective technical support providers, and project‐imbedded manufacturers.

Research limitations/implications

The study was designed to meet industry needs and hence does not emphasise theoretical aspects.

Practical implications

Manufacturers can improve the diffusion of their product innovations on construction projects by using relationship networks to promote the above conditions, or to locate contexts where such conditions prevail, or to leverage those conditions that are most favourable.

Originality/value

The paper addresses four gaps in the construction management literature: there is very little literature on the role of manufacturers in innovation on construction projects; the literature on subcontractors tends to assume easily substitutable supplies; there is a focus in the literature on large projects, and the literature is dominated by quantitative studies. By undertaking a qualitative analysis of manufacturers of patented products subcontracting to small projects, this paper addresses the above shortcomings.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Mary Hardie

The purpose of this paper is to identify the major influences on innovation delivery in the context of small Australian construction businesses.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the major influences on innovation delivery in the context of small Australian construction businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis was undertaken of peer‐reviewed journal articles published between 1998 and 2008. Historical background to the current circumstances was included by reference to influential government reports and to literature on the economic theory underpinning the concept of innovation.

Findings

The findings suggest that despite the recent trend to more cooperative business arrangements, the ingrained culture of aggressively competitive relations on a building project remains in place. This is particularly evident at the small and sub‐contractor level. Such companies tend to operate with little spare capacity and can be restricted from participation in the benefits of the innovation strategies unless they receive outside assistance.

Research limitations/implications

The need for an attitudinal change is described and critical factors which restrict the involvement of small businesses in innovative practice are identified. The potential for industry bodies and government organizations to foster innovative capacity is identified as an area for future research.

Practical implications

A focus on lifting technical innovation rates for the efficient delivery of projects is described and the case for a renewed research effort on the needs of small construction businesses is made.

Originality/value

The need for the translation of innovation theory to an industry which tends to see itself as a special case and has traditionally avoided the adoption of economic theory from other sectors.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

Timothy Rose and Karen Manley

The paper seeks to provide recommendations for construction clients who design and implement financial incentive mechanisms (FIMs) on projects.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to provide recommendations for construction clients who design and implement financial incentive mechanisms (FIMs) on projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Four large Australian building projects commissioned by government clients under managing contractor contracts and completed between 2001 and 2005 were examined to explore the “drivers” that promoted motivation toward financial incentive goals. The results were triangulated across data sources, projects and stakeholder types.

Findings

FIM design should incorporate: flexibility to modify goals and measurement procedures over time; multiple goals covering different project areas; distribution of rewards across all the key organisations contributing to team performance (e.g. potentially not just the contractor, but the subcontractors and consultants) and a reward amount sufficient to be valued by potential recipients. FIM benefits are maximised through the following complementary procurement initiatives: equitable contract risk allocation; early contractor involvement in design; value‐driven tender selection; relationship workshops; and future work opportunities.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides practical recommendations to industry and hence does not emphasise theoretical aspects.

Practical implications

The uptake of these recommendations is likely to increase the impact of FIMs on motivation and improve project and industry outcomes. Although the study focuses on government clients of building projects, all the recommendations would seem to apply equally to private‐sector clients and to non‐building projects.

Originality/value

In order to improve motivation and reward high performance, clients are increasingly using FIM in their construction contracts. Despite the rising use of financial incentives, there is a lack of comprehensive construction‐specific knowledge available to help clients maximise outcomes. The study addresses this gap in the literature.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Book part
Publication date: 13 September 2018

Abbas Elmualim, Sherif Mostafa, Nicholas Chileshe and Raufdeen Rameezdeen

This chapter discusses the profound and influential impact the construction industry has on the national economy, together with the huge negative effect it has on the…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the profound and influential impact the construction industry has on the national economy, together with the huge negative effect it has on the environment. It argues that by adopting smart and industrialised prefabrication (SAIP), the Australian construction industry, and the construction industry globally, is well positioned to leverage the circular economy to advance future industries with less impact on our natural environment. It discusses aspects of the application of digital technologies, specifically building information modelling, virtualisation, augmented and virtual reality and 3D printing, coupled with reverse logistics as a proponent for advancing the circular economy through smart, digitally enabled, industrialised prefabrication. It further postulates a framework for SAIP for the circular economy.

Details

Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-620-4

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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2021

Ramtin Etemadi, Carol K.H. Hon, Karen Manley and Glen Murphy

This paper aims to investigate the mechanisms for transforming construction professionals’ intentions into use of social media (SM) for knowledge sharing (KS). The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the mechanisms for transforming construction professionals’ intentions into use of social media (SM) for knowledge sharing (KS). The objectives are to: identify the common types of SM platforms used by the construction professionals for KS; identify the key problems influencing transformation of the construction professionals’ intentions into use of SM for KS; identify the factors mitigating the problems; and provide recommendations for enhancing construction professionals’ use of SM for KS.

Design/methodology/approach

The data was collected through semi-structured interviews with Australian construction professionals and analysed using grounded theory (GT). The outcomes of the analyses formed a framework for the enhancement of SM use for KS.

Findings

The findings show that private SM followed by enterprise SM are more appealing to the construction professionals for KS compared to public SM; and uncertainties about users’ privacy/confidentiality and the quality of the shared knowledge adversely affect the transformation of the construction professionals’ intentions into use of SM for KS. Three types of trust are identified as the mitigators of the identified problems. A framework is proffered to enhance SM use for KS by construction professionals.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the construction literature by developing a GT to explain the factors which impact the transformation of the construction professionals’ intentions into use of SM for KS. Additionally, the practical contribution of this study is the provision of framework constituting recommendations for the enhancement of SM use for KS.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2019

Timothy Rose, Karen Manley and Kristian Widen

The purpose of this study is to examine product innovation as a means of addressing infrastructure shortages in developed economies and to improve the sustainability of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine product innovation as a means of addressing infrastructure shortages in developed economies and to improve the sustainability of infrastructure. The obstacles to product innovation in the road industry are compared between different types of participants in the supply chain to provide guidelines for interventions to improve innovation rates.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study uses descriptive data from a large scale survey of the Australian road industry. The three top-rated product innovation obstacles for the following four types of participants are examined: contractors, consultants, suppliers and clients.

Findings

The four groups were found to disagree about the relative importance of the obstacles. Contractors and suppliers ranked “restrictive price-only tender assessment” used by clients as their number one obstacle, while consultants thought there was too much emphasis by the clients on direct costs compared with whole-of-life costs. On the other hand, clients felt suppliers do not do enough thorough testing prior to proposing a new product and disagreed with suppliers about who should carry the risk of new product failure.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual framework was found to yield novel insights with significant policy implications. The construction-specific contextual determinants that were integrated by the authors into a broad innovation diffusion process proved useful in categorising road product innovation obstacles across the four surveyed supply chain groups – without overlap or omission. The new framework also proved useful in ordering the key obstacles across groups for interpretation and discussion. In disaggregating product obstacles according to groups, these contextual determinants were proven to be mutually exclusive and to represent important focal points in promoting the uptake of product innovation in construction. Although the current study has usefully provided quantitative data concerning construction innovation obstacles, there are limitations due to its reliance on descriptive statistics. Future work by the authors is proposed to analyse the relationships between innovation obstacles and supply chain partners using inferential statistics to further develop and validate these early findings. The current study is an interim step in this work and an important contribution in identifying and addressing firm-level barriers seen to be constraining construction product innovation.

Practical implications

Results suggest there is a need for government clients to carefully consider the differing perspectives across the supply chain when developing strategies to encourage the adoption of mutually-beneficial innovative products on their construction projects. Inclusive focus groups examining the drivers, configuration and benefits of collaborative procurement systems are recommended to reduce innovation obstacles.

Social implications

Society relies on urban infrastructure for daily living and the current study contributes to stretching infrastructure investment dollars and reducing the environmental impact of infrastructure provision.

Originality/value

No previous study has compared the perception of product innovation obstacles across different road industry supply chain partners. This is a significant gap, as differences in opinions across the supply chain need to be understood to develop the shared expectations and the improved relationships required to improve product innovation rates. Product innovation is important because it has been shown to improve efficiency (potentially addressing the road investment gap) and reduce deleterious environmental impacts.

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Ian Stewart and Peter Fenn

This paper proposes that strategy activity is the most necessary form of and foundation for innovation. It is also the real context for any innovation effort that is…

Abstract

This paper proposes that strategy activity is the most necessary form of and foundation for innovation. It is also the real context for any innovation effort that is intended to create competitive advantage, especially in response to three key strategic issues construction industry; changing client demands for value, partnering, and supply integration. Innovation is the profitable exploitation of ideas. Clearly, this requires two things a source of ideas that can lend themselves to profitable exploitation and a goal in pursuit which to exploit the ideas. Those goals are established and met by strategic innovation. The right strategy tools can motivate ideas and insight. However, elements of normal industry practice constitute strong demotivators to profitable strategic innovation, hence the presence of strategy activities noted in the industry. This paper discusses the development of the strategic management discourse and to identify tools for use in construction industry innovation that relate to its strategic challenges; the Value Chain, Game Theory and Delphi Technique. The paper also identifies the process of “Bricolage”, potentially a fourth tool, or process, which could be a source hard to imitate advantage in developing strategic innovation practices which act catalyst for participation and the means to profitably exploit new ideas. With strategically‐oriented innovation, a firm can identify and create new value for its customers and integrate its supply chains. Without it, innovation is at best blind, at worst, will never happen; there no goal to exploit the idea in pursuit of. Without strategy, there is no motivation to innovate.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2017

Ayirebi Dansoh, Daniel Oteng and Samuel Frimpong

The purpose of this research is to identify the conditions under which the internal environment of small construction firms makes them either develop or adopt an innovation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to identify the conditions under which the internal environment of small construction firms makes them either develop or adopt an innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The research described in this paper adopted a qualitative case study approach. The data were obtained from multiple sources such as face-to-face semi-structured interviews with company representatives and from project reports.

Findings

The study identified that firms’ decision to either adopt or develop an innovation is determined by a complex interaction between their internal environment and 12 different conditions. Some of the findings contrast widespread perceptions in broader literature on innovation development and adoption in small construction firms.

Research limitations/implications

The study focused only on firms from two regions in Ghana. Additionally, adopting a purely qualitative approach meant that the quantitative impacts of the different factors were not presented.

Practical implications

The results can inform the decisions of agencies and persons wishing to invest their resources in innovation activities of small construction firms. It can also inform the policy debate and directions of government and industry associations looking to create innovation-friendly environments in the small business sector.

Originality/value

This research provides a better understanding of innovation development and adoption by small construction firms. Given that there is little previous research on innovation by small construction firms, especially in developing economies, the paper complements existing studies that generally focus on much larger firms and developed economies.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2016

Karen Manley and Le Chen

Collaboration is thought to offer significant benefits over traditional contracts, however there is little existing research concerning how these benefits can be…

Abstract

Purpose

Collaboration is thought to offer significant benefits over traditional contracts, however there is little existing research concerning how these benefits can be optimized. To address this gap, a survey investigated the impact of client characteristics on the time and cost efficiency of collaborative infrastructure projects. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The survey of experienced senior practitioners of Australian collaborative infrastructure projects yielded 320 valid responses. Cluster analysis, one-way between group ANOVA tests and independent sample t-tests were used to confirm that three client characteristics are critical to time and cost performance: client sector (public/private); client experience with asset procurement; and client approach to price competition.

Findings

Projects procured by experienced private sector clients were found to meet targeted levels of performance, regardless of their approach to team selection. Among projects procured by experienced public sector clients, groups of relatively low and high performing projects could be distinguished, regardless of their approach to team selection. Projects run by teams selected competitively on non-price criteria prior to the pricing stage exhibited significantly better performance than those run by teams that competed on the price of the project to win the work.

Research limitations/implications

This study focussed only on analysis of three client characteristics. Future research may consider a broader range of contextual variables. Results are based on perceptual data rather than objective data.

Practical implications

The findings show collaborative infrastructure clients in the construction sector should be less concerned about inexperience than they might have been, and more interested in single-team selection approaches than they might have been.

Originality/value

The results indicate significant performance differences between client types. In particular, experienced public sector clients had more polarized performance outcomes, compared to the private sector.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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