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1 – 10 of 134
Article
Publication date: 17 May 2022

Martin Loosemore, Robyn Keast, Josephine Barraket, George Denny-Smith and Suhair Alkilani

This research addresses the lack of project management research into social procurement by exploring the risks and opportunities of social procurement from a cross-sector…

Abstract

Purpose

This research addresses the lack of project management research into social procurement by exploring the risks and opportunities of social procurement from a cross-sector collaboration perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis of five focus groups conducted with thirty-five stakeholders involved in the implementation of a unique social procurement initiative on a major Australian construction project is reported.

Findings

Results show little collective understanding among project stakeholders for what social procurement policies can achieve, a focus on downside risk rather than upside opportunity and perceptions of distributive injustice about the way new social procurement risks are being managed. Also highlighted is the tension between the collaborative intent of social procurement requirements and the dynamic, fragmented and temporary project-based construction industry into which they are being introduced. Ironically, this can lead to opportunistic behaviours to the detriment of the vulnerable people these policies are meant to help.

Practical implications

The paper concludes by presenting a new conceptual framework of project risk and opportunity management from a social procurement perspective. Deficiencies in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) are also highlighted around an expanded project management role in meeting these new project management requirements.

Originality/value

Social procurement is becoming increasingly popular in many countries as a collaborative mechanism to ensure construction and infrastructure projects contribute positively to the communities in which they are built. This research addresses the lack of project management research into social procurement by exploring the risks and opportunities of social procurement from a cross-sector collaboration perspective.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 May 2022

Martin Loosemore, Robyn Keast and Jo Barraket

Social procurement is becoming an increasing policy focus for governments around the world as they seek to incentivise new collaborative partnerships with private…

Abstract

Purpose

Social procurement is becoming an increasing policy focus for governments around the world as they seek to incentivise new collaborative partnerships with private organisations in industries like construction to meet their social obligations. The limited construction management research in this area shows that the successful implementation of these policies depends on a new generation of social procurement professionals who are promoting these policies into an institutional vacuum with little organisational identity, legitimacy and support. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what these actors do to promote and build support for the implementation of these policies in their organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

A thematic analysis of in-depth semi-structured interviews with 15 social procurement actors in the Australian construction industry is presented.

Findings

Results portray an experimental, disconnected and nascent institutional field of practice with a high degree of role ambiguity and conflict. In the absence of a clear organisational identity and legitimate power-base, social procurement actors are forced to rely on incremental rather than radical innovation and the power of stories to persuade others to engage with their vision for creating social value through construction.

Originality/value

Contributing new insights to the emerging “practice theme” in social procurement research, this paper provides important conceptual and practical information about the attributes which determine their success, how they fit into existing organisational structures and how they build support to achieve enabling institutional change. Academically, the results advance understanding of how social procurement professionals are implementing these policies into their organisations. Practically, they provide new information which enable social procurement professionals to improve their practices and construction companies to recruit the right people into these roles and design their organisations to more effectively support them.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 June 2020

Martin Loosemore, David Higgon and Joanne Osborne

This paper responds to the need for more construction project management research in the emerging field of social procurement. It contributes by exploring the potential…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper responds to the need for more construction project management research in the emerging field of social procurement. It contributes by exploring the potential value of cross-sector collaboration and project-based intermediation in meeting new social procurement imperatives.

Design/methodology/approach

A thematic exploratory case study analysis is presented of seventy-three interviews undertaken with stakeholders involved in a unique project-based intermediary developed by a major Australian construction company to leverage the power of cross-sector collaboration in response to social procurement imperatives on its projects, based on semi-structured interviews with 33 disadvantaged job seekers, 40 organisational stakeholders (employment agencies; not-for-profits, Indigenous, disability and refugee support organisations; training organisations; subcontractors; government agencies and departments; community organisations) and observational and documentary data over the duration of a unique project-based intermediary called a Connectivity Centre, developed by a major Australian contractor to deliver on its emerging social procurement requirements.

Findings

The results show that cross-sector collaboration within the construction industry can produce highlight numerous cognitive, behavioural, health, situational and affective social impacts for the project community and shared-value benefits for the range of organisations involved. However, it is found that cross-sector collaboration through project-based intermediation in a construction context is challenging due to the fragmented and dynamic nature of construction project teams and the communities they have to engage with. Encouraging people and organisations to collaborate who operate in industries and organisations with different and sometimes competing institutional logics and objectives (even if they are linked by common values) requires a set of knowledge, competencies and relationships not recognised in current global project management competency frameworks.

Originality/value

This research contributes new insights to the emerging but embryonic body of research into construction social procurement by demonstrating the value of emerging theories of social procurement, social value, cross-sector collaboration and intermediation in enhancing our currently limited understanding of the complex challenges involved in responding to new social procurement requirements in the construction industry. It explores and documents the potential value of project-based intermediaries in developing and managing the new cross-sector relationships, roles, relational competencies and practices, which are required to effectively respond to and measure the impact of emerging social procurement policies in the construction industry. These findings have a potentially significant social impact by providing new insights for policymakers and the construction industry, to optimise the industry’s response to emerging social procurement policies.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 October 2020

Mirian Sayuri Vaccari, David Sanderson, Martin Loosemore and Mohammad Mojtahedi

The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges of transitional shelter provision for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in urban informal settlements. While there…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges of transitional shelter provision for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in urban informal settlements. While there has been considerable research on postdisaster transitional shelters, less is known on shelters for IDPs in urban informal settlements.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study is presented based on field research at the communities in Olaria and City in São Paulo, Brazil. Collection of data included personal communication with the dwellers, surveys and interviews with representatives from Techo, one of the few organizations that provide transitional shelters for IDPs. A review of documents regarding the construction, design and users' adaptation of transitional shelter was also undertaken. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The study found that Techo's program impacts positively on the nonphysical aspects of shelter, such as physical and mental health, security, household responsibilities and community participation. However, Techo's transitional shelter for IDPs in urban informal settlements and most postdisaster transitional shelters share similar problems. These programs respond to the needs of a small proportion of the affected populations with shelters of minimum quality and low durability.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited to a single case study of the NGO Techo and further case study research is recommended to further develop and validate the study results in other urban development contexts.

Originality/value

This research contributes to describing and understanding the context and the provision of transitional shelters to IDPs in urban informal settlements and impacts in the community. With increasing numbers of IDPs settling in urban informal settlements in many parts of the world, this paper is valuable to policymakers, NGOs and researchers operating in this field to facilitate community development.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 March 2021

Martin Loosemore, Suhair Z. Alkilani and Ahmed W.A. Hammad

In Australia, as in many other countries, refugees are over-represented in the ranks of the unemployed, under-employed and precariously employed and often become…

Abstract

Purpose

In Australia, as in many other countries, refugees are over-represented in the ranks of the unemployed, under-employed and precariously employed and often become frustrated in their attempts to secure work. Despite the construction industry being a major potential source of employment for refugees, there has been a surprising lack of research into their experiences of securing work in the industry. Addressing this gap and also the general lack of voice for refugees in construction research, the aim of this paper is to explore the barriers refugees face in securing employment in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reports a survey of refugees who have worked or attempted to seek work in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

Results show that the main barriers to securing employment in construction are: lack of local work experience; employer discrimination; employer failure to recognise previous qualifications, skills and experience and employers not understanding the challenges they face. Government employment agencies and systems are also perceived to be of limited value and overly complex, in contrast to the activities of not-for-profit support agencies.

Research limitations/implications

While the research is limited to Australia, the findings contribute an important and missing refugee dimension to the emerging body of research on construction social procurement. They also contribute unique sector-specific insights into the broader debate about refugee resettlement and employment. Further research is needed in other national contexts.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made to address the barriers to employment identified including: initiatives to provide refugees with work experience in the industry; education to break-down negative stereotypes of refugees among employers; greater support for not-for-profits supporting refugees and reform of government and employment agency systems and procedures.

Social implications

By enhancing understanding of the barriers to employment for refugees in construction and proposing solutions to reduce those barriers, this research contributes new insights into a growing global challenge of how we better integrate growing numbers of refugees into harmonious and prosperous societies.

Originality/value

The findings are important in facilitating the smoother integration of refugees into society. Beyond the moral imperative, there are significant social, cultural and economic benefits which successful refugee integration brings to host countries and industries like construction which in many countries are now being required to employ refugees in their workforce as a condition of public sector contracts.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2021

Martin Loosemore and Andrew McCallum

The aim of this paper is to explore the situational and individual factors which motivate entrepreneurs to start a business in the construction industry.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore the situational and individual factors which motivate entrepreneurs to start a business in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews are undertaken with twenty-five entrepreneurs in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

Findings highlight the importance of eight recurring “situational” themes leading to the decision to start a business in the construction industry: life experiences; family background; roles models; education; previous employment; construction industry experience - especially at an early age; cultural factors and serendipity. Findings also reveal six recurring “individual” themes: individual agency; need for achievement; work–life balance; desire for independence, frustration avoidance and strategic instrumentality.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicate that mainstream theories of entrepreneurship may underplay the importance of intergenerational traditions and cultural and informal institutional knowledge in the construction industry. The research is limited to interviews undertaken in the Australian construction industry.

Practical implications

The findings have important implications for research, policy and educational practice. For researchers they highlight the potential value of social identity and new institutional theories as novel conceptual lenses in future construction entrepreneurship research. They also raise new methodological questions regarding the use of ethnographic methods which are relatively rare in construction research. This research also has important implications for educators in informing novel pedagogies for delivering entrepreneurial education which engages students in experiential learning. The findings also inform innovation policy to enable more entrepreneurship in what is seen widely as a low-innovation industry.

Social implications

There is widespread agreement about the importance of entrepreneurship as a driver of increased productivity, income, employment, ecological health and social equality and mobility in society. This is especially important to minority groups such as refugees and Indigenous people who employ entrepreneurship to circumvent the many barriers they face in gaining traditional employment in the construction industry.

Originality/value

Drawing on both psychological and sociological schools of thought in entrepreneurship theory, this paper answers calls for more qualitative and industry-specific entrepreneurship research. It contributes new insights to both mainstream and construction entrepreneurship research by contributing new insights by highlighting situational and individual factors which motivate entrepreneurs to start a business in construction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Martin Loosemore, George Denny-Smith, Jo Barraket, Robyn Keast, Daniel Chamberlain, Kristy Muir, Abigail Powell, Dave Higgon and Jo Osborne

Social procurement policies are an emerging policy instrument being used by governments around the world to leverage infrastructure and construction spending to address…

Abstract

Purpose

Social procurement policies are an emerging policy instrument being used by governments around the world to leverage infrastructure and construction spending to address intractable social problems in the communities they represent. The relational nature of social procurement policies requires construction firms to develop new collaborative partnerships with organisations from the government, not-for-profit and community sectors. The aim of this paper is to address the paucity of research into the risks and opportunities of entering into these new cross-sector partnerships from the perspectives of the stakeholders involved and how this affects collaborative potential and social value outcomes for intended beneficiaries.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study research is based on a unique collaborative intermediary called Connectivity Centre created by an international contractor to coordinate its social procurement strategies. The findings draw on a thematic analysis of qualitative data from focus groups with 35 stakeholders from the construction, government, not-for-profit, social enterprise, education and employment sectors.

Findings

Findings indicate that potentially enormous opportunities which social procurement offers are being undermined by stakeholder nervousness about policy design, stability and implementation, poor risk management, information asymmetries, perverse incentives, candidate supply constraints, scepticism, traditional recruitment practices and industry capacity constraints. While these risks can be mitigated through collaborative initiatives like Connectivity Centres, this depends on new “relational” skills, knowledge and competencies which do not currently exist in construction. In conclusion, when social procurement policy requirements are excessive and imposed top-down, with little understanding of the construction industry's compliance capacity, intended social outcomes of these policies are unlikely to be achieved.

Originality/value

This research draws on theories of cross-sector collaboration developed in the realm of public sector management to address the lack of research into how the new cross-sector partnerships encouraged by emerging social procurement policies work in the construction industry. Contributing to the emerging literature on cross-sector collaboration, the findings expose the many challenges of working in cross-sector partnerships in highly transitionary project-based environments like construction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 February 2021

Samad M.E. Sepasgozar, Sara Shirowzhan and Martin Loosemore

Advanced construction technologies (ACTs) are transforming infrastructure projects, yet there has been little research into and theorization of the process by which these…

Abstract

Purpose

Advanced construction technologies (ACTs) are transforming infrastructure projects, yet there has been little research into and theorization of the process by which these innovations are diffused. The purpose of this paper is to address this paucity of research by exploring the problems of information asymmetries between vendors and customers in the ACT diffusion process. Specifically, the paper explores whether information asymmetries exist between vendors and customers in the ACT diffusion process and what forms they take.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured survey of 153 vendors and customers of advanced construction technologies was undertaken across three international ACT exhibitions in Australia.

Findings

By comparing the perspectives of both customers and vendors across 15 technology diffusion process variables using importance-performance analysis and principal component analysis, significant differences are found between vendors’ and customers’ perceptions of how effectively information flows in the ACT diffusion process. The results show that vendors are significantly more optimistic than customers about information asymmetries on a wide range of diffusion variables. They also highlight significant potential for information asymmetries to occur which can undermine the advanced technology diffusion process.

Originality/value

The results provide important new conceptual and practical insights into an under-researched area, which is of increasing importance to a major industry, which is being transformed by advanced technological developments.

Article
Publication date: 22 September 2020

Shang Zhang, Riza Yosia Sunindijo, Martin Loosemore, Shejiang Wang, Yajun Gu and Hongfei Li

The image of the construction industry in China, as in many other countries, is tarnished by its poor safety record. With the rapid development of subway systems in…

Abstract

Purpose

The image of the construction industry in China, as in many other countries, is tarnished by its poor safety record. With the rapid development of subway systems in Chinese urban areas, construction workers are being exposed to new risks which are poorly understood and managed. Subway construction projects are large scale and scattered over many construction sites, and involve numerous stakeholders and sophisticated technologies in challenging underground environments. Accident rates are high and have significant economic and social consequences for the firms and people involved. Addressing the gap in research about the safety risk in these projects, the purpose of this paper is to advance understanding of the factors influencing the safety of Chinese subway construction projects with the overall objective of reducing accident rates.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted with 399 subway construction professionals across five stakeholder groups. Follow-up interviews were also conducted with five experienced experts in safety management on subway projects to validate the results.

Findings

It was found that the eight most critical factors perceived by stakeholders to influence safety risks on Chinese subway projects are: project management team; contractor-related factors; site underground environment; safety protection during the use of machines; safety management investment; site construction monitoring and measurement; hazard identification and communication; and use of machines in all stages. This indicates that in allocating limited project resources to improve the safety of subway projects, managers should focus on: developing safety knowledge and positive attitudes in leadership teams; formulating effective risk management systems to identify, assess, mitigate, measure and monitor safety risks on site; improving communications with stakeholders about these risks and effectively managing plant, equipment and machinery.

Originality/value

This research contributes a new multi-stakeholder perspective to the lack of safety research in Chinese subway construction projects. The research findings provide important new insights for policymakers and managers in improving safety outcomes on these major projects, producing potentially significant social and economic benefits for society and the construction industry.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

George Denny-Smith and Martin Loosemore

The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers to entry for Indigenous businesses into the Australian construction industry.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers to entry for Indigenous businesses into the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A national survey was conducted with 33 Indigenous businesses operating in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

The findings show that Indigenous enterprises face similar challenges to many small non-Indigenous enterprises wishing to enter the industry. These include adjusting to unique construction industry cultures and practices, breaking into existing business networks and building social capital and being under-cut by industry incumbents and competitors when tendering for projects. These barriers are similar to those faced by other non-Indigenous social enterprises, although Indigenous enterprises do appear to experience relatively greater difficulty in starting-up their businesses and in securing sufficient capital, finance and assistance to enable them to scale-up and tender for normal work packages at a competitive price.

Research limitations/implications

The results are limited to Australian Indigenous businesses. The survey does not allow a comparison of non-Indigenous and Indigenous businesses, although comparison of results with existing non-Indigenous research into small to medium-sized firms in construction does allow some tentative insights. These need to be explored further.

Practical implications

These results indicate that there are significant barriers to be addressed within the Australian construction industry if government indigenous procurement policies are to achieve their stated aims of increasing the number of Indigenous firms in the industry. The results also have important implications for Indigenous businesses and for non-Indigenous firms operating in the Australian construction industry.

Social implications

This is an important gap in knowledge to address if countries like Australia are to redress the significant inequalities in income and health suffered by Indigenous populations.

Originality/value

In countries like Australia, with significant Indigenous populations, governments are seeking to address persistent disadvantage by using new social procurement initiatives to create quasi construction markets for Indigenous enterprises to participate in the construction industry. While there is an emerging body of research into the barriers facing mainstream small to medium-sized enterprises and, to a lesser extent, social enterprises in construction, the barriers to entry facing Indigenous construction enterprises have been largely ignored.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

1 – 10 of 134