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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

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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

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2007

Rosanna Duncan, Julianne Mortimer and Jane Hallas

The UK Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 places a statutory duty on all public authorities to promote race equality throughout all their functions. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

The UK Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 places a statutory duty on all public authorities to promote race equality throughout all their functions. The purpose of this paper is to discuss steps being taken by social landlords in Wales and contractors and consultants to promote race equality within the construction procurement process.

Design/methodology/approach

The principle methods of data collection were focus groups with social landlords and postal questionnaires and semi structured telephone interviews with construction contractors and consultants.

Findings

Little action is being taken by social landlords in Wales to promote race equality within the construction procurement process. Furthermore, construction contractors and consultants that undertake work on behalf of social landlords are doing little to ensure race equality within their own organisations.

Research limitations/implications

A relatively small sample of construction contractors and consultants took part in the research.

Practical implications

In order to meet their obligations under current legislation social landlords need to ensure that they promote race equality within the procurement process. Construction companies including maintenance and minor works contractors that aspire to be engaged by social landlords will need to demonstrate that they are committed to race equality and its implementation and have the appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure this.

Originality/value

This research is the first to evaluate the procurement practices of social landlords in Wales and how these practices may impact on race equality within the procurement process. The research also examined the steps being taken to promote equality by construction contractors and consultants operating within the social housing sector in Wales.

Details

Facilities, vol. 25 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2011

Alexander Styhre

The concept of sociomaterial practice has been proposed as a term including materiality as constitutive elements in any social practice. The concept also suggests that

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1428

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of sociomaterial practice has been proposed as a term including materiality as constitutive elements in any social practice. The concept also suggests that while social relations are constituted by and mediated by materiality, materiality per se is enacted in a social context. Practice is thus unfolding as a form of constitutive entanglement of social and material resources at hand. The paper aims at discussing the concept of practice as what is mobilizing both material and intangible resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on interviews with construction workers, foremen, and site managers in three projects in a medium sized construction company.

Findings

The study suggests that while construction work is both regulated by piece‐rate wage systems and being largely composed of standard operation procedures, there is still a strong reliance on collectively accomplished routines for communicating and interacting in the workplace. Rather than being determined by and reducible to material conditions, social relations and mutual trust play a key role in construction projects.

Originality/value

The concept of sociomaterial practice is opening up for a more articulated recognition of the entanglement of social and material resources in organizing work. The study presents first‐hand data on how construction work rests on the collective capacity to combine both material and social elements.

Details

VINE, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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Book part
Publication date: 14 November 2003

Lisa Troyer

According to status construction theory, a social attribute becomes imbued with status value through its association with valued resources. Yet, explanations for such…

Abstract

According to status construction theory, a social attribute becomes imbued with status value through its association with valued resources. Yet, explanations for such associations have received scant attention. I propose that social identity processes may lead agents controlling resources to over-allocate to in-group members. This generates a doubly dissimilar situation in which actors are differentiated both with respect to a nominal characteristic and resources, leading the characteristic to become imbued with status value. I find support for this elaboration in a sample of newly founded organizations. I discuss the implications of this elaboration for further developments in status construction theory.

Details

Power and Status
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-030-2

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2019

Emmanuel Itodo Daniel and Christine Pasquire

The purpose of this paper is to present the current knowledge surrounding social value (SV) and show how lean approach supports SV realisation in the delivery of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the current knowledge surrounding social value (SV) and show how lean approach supports SV realisation in the delivery of construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

A critical literature review was adopted, to gather the current knowledge surrounding SV from mainstream management sciences, construction management and lean literature. A total of 70 studies were critically reviewed.

Findings

The study establishes that the current level of awareness on SV is still low and there is a dearth of scholarly publications on SV especially in the construction management literature. The investigation reveals the potentials of lean approach in supporting the delivery of SV on construction projects.

Social implications

This study conceptualises the community and the physical environment around where the construction project is executed as customers using lean production approach. It shows that the transformation, flow and value view supports smooth workflow, which enhances the achievement of SV objectives. This creates a new insight into how SV can be realised in construction project delivery.

Originality/value

This study extends the on-going debate around the need for SV in construction project delivery and contributes to construction management and lean construction literature on SV. Future studies could build on this to obtain empirical data and develop an approach/method that would support the evidencing of SV delivery on construction projects.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2019

Stuart Palmer and Nilupa Udawatta

Sustainable construction is widely considered to be the best practice in construction, helping to create a healthy built environment. Social media is identified as a…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainable construction is widely considered to be the best practice in construction, helping to create a healthy built environment. Social media is identified as a valuable data source for research on sustainable construction, and Twitter is a popular social media platform in relation to the construction. Green Building construction is identified as one of the methods that promotes sustainable construction. The purpose of this study is to characterise “Green Building” as a topic in Twitter.

Design/methodology/approach

Social network analysis methods were applied to a large set of Twitter data related to “green building”. Time sequence analysis and network visualisation were used to characterise Twitter activity and to identify influential users. Text analytics and visualisation methods were applied to the same data set to visualise the text content of Twitter posts relating to green building.

Findings

Peaks in Twitter activity were associated with physical “green building” events. The network visualisation of the Twitter data revealed a complex structure and a range of types of interactions. The most “influential” users depended on the ranking method used; however, a number of users had high influence in all measures used. The tweet text visualisation showed evidence of a global and interactive audience on Twitter engaged in conversations about green building. Also, it was found that external links, emoji and popular terms related to a particular topic can be used to increase the engagement of Twitter users on that topic.

Originality/value

Certain Green Building events were observed to be associated with high levels of Twitter activity. The virtual was found to be closely linked to the physical, and for the promotion of green building construction, their respective impact is potentially the most powerful when used in conjunction. The most influential Twitter accounts did not belong to one class of user, including both individuals and organisations. Twitter offers a platform for a range of stakeholders in the area of green building construction to reach a substantial audience and to be influential in the public sphere. The findings of this research provide a valuable reference for industry practitioners and researchers to deepen their understanding of the application of Twitter to green building construction, and the methods of using Twitter to promote important information related to sustainable construction.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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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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1091

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

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Article
Publication date: 26 February 2020

Ashish Goel, L.S. Ganesh and Arshinder Kaur

Recent research on construction project management (CPM) envisions addressing wider social good while delivering value to the funding organizations. It is complemented by…

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1006

Abstract

Purpose

Recent research on construction project management (CPM) envisions addressing wider social good while delivering value to the funding organizations. It is complemented by a growing body of knowledge on social sustainability in construction projects. These two literature streams are currently scattered and there is a lack of holistic guidance on integrating social sustainability with CPM. The current study addresses this knowledge gap through a critical review of these two bodies of literature and thereby proposing a conceptual framework for socially sustainable CPM.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual modelling approach, involving sequential steps of knowledge acquisition, and knowledge abstraction and representation, has been used. Knowledge acquisition was based on a systematic search and short-listing of research articles and knowledge abstraction was performed through thematic analysis of the 81 shortlisted articles. The categories abstracted through thematic analysis were integrated and presented as the framework.

Findings

A framework for socially sustainable CPM, consisting of four social sustainability characteristics and six areas of social sustainability integration in CPM (SSI-CPM), has been proposed. It presents possibilities of integrating social concerns in CPM processes at various levels – ranging from permanent firms that provide resources to the temporary (project) organization that delivers value.

Originality/value

This study seeks to bridge the gap between theory and practice of realizing social good through construction projects. To this end, a conceptual framework has been proposed along with an agenda for future research encompassing social sustainability and CPM.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Brandsford Kwame Gidigah, Kofi Agyekum and Bernard K. Baiden

Though the Public Procurement Act of Ghana makes room for specific socio-economic policies (environmental, social, economic and other policies which are intended to…

Abstract

Purpose

Though the Public Procurement Act of Ghana makes room for specific socio-economic policies (environmental, social, economic and other policies which are intended to promote social and economic impact), there is no explicit definition and provision for social value as an evaluation criterion, culminating in the absence of a definition in the Act. This paper elicits the conception and understanding of social value from stakeholders in the Ghanaian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a qualitative method that relied on a semi-structured interview of 30 participants purposively drawn from Western, Western North and Central regions of Ghana. An inductive thematic analysis approach, which involved identifying repetitions, exploring similarities and differences, noting linguistic connectors, and a framework were employed to analyse the data.

Findings

The study established no single definition or explanation for social value in the construction industry in Ghana. However, it was revealed from the study that the concept of social value could be defined from the functional perspective of the definer, particularly from the perspective of a Procurement Officer, Works Engineer, and a Quantity Surveyor. A new insight from the study that differs from the body of literature is that participants equated benefits derived from physically constructed projects as social value.

Social implications

The study has implication for public administration and practice regarding the decision-making process in the construction industry in Ghana. It provides a vital awakening on social value as a criterion in evaluating construction works procurement in Ghana. The ability of participants to equate the benefits derived from executed construction projects as social value creates a new perspective on understanding the meaning of social value in the procurement of works construction.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the state-of-the-art and ongoing discourse on the concept of social value globally. The findings create an important catalyst for social value research in the Ghanaian construction industry.

Details

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

Keywords

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