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Construction projects as mechanisms for knowledge integration: mechanisms and effects when diffusing a systemic innovation
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Sustainability, Innovation and Management in Building (SIMB).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8766-1957
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Sustainability, Innovation and Management in Building (SIMB).
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8277-3378
(English)In: Engineering Construction and Architectural Management, ISSN 0969-9988, E-ISSN 1365-232XArticle in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The aim of this research is to study knowledge integration (KI) when diffusing a systemic innovation. The objectives are to understand what mechanisms are used, and when and what their effects are in terms of knowledge development.

Design/Methodology/Approach - The method comprised a longitudinal case study which followed a firm’s attempts to develop and diffuse a timber multi-storey building system (the systemic innovation) over a number of projects.

Findings - The findings emphasize actual projects as the most crucial activity for KI and when and why soft personalization mechanisms and codified knowledge should be mixed.  Furthermore, it shows how different types of knowledge is built up including construction process effects over a series of projects.

Research limitations/implications -  The research contributes with knowledge about mechanisms for the diffusion of a specific systemic innovation type and provides input regarding mechanisms to use. The introduction of the concepts ‘domain-specific’, ‘procedural’ and ‘general knowledge’ into construction has increased understanding of innovation diffusion and knowledge flows and where and how they are integrated.

Practical Implications – The research shows how knowledge develops and through which mechanisms, and where problems occur. Construction organisations can learn from this to avoid mistakes and potentially better understand how to manage knowledge to diffuse a systemic innovation.

Originality/value - The research provides insight into systemic innovation diffusion over a series of projects and focuses on both projects and the construction process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-36247OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-36247DiVA, id: diva2:1181366
Note

As manucript in thesis

Available from: 2018-02-08 Created: 2018-02-08 Last updated: 2018-02-08
In thesis
1. Diffusion of systemic innovations in the construction sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diffusion of systemic innovations in the construction sector
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The amount of research dealing with innovation has increased dramatically, construction management research included. This thesis focuses on innovations with inter-organizational effects, systemic innovations, which may radically change and improve the construction process. The overall aim of the thesis is to contribute understanding of diffusion of systemic innovations in the construction sector through the study of two different types of systemic innovations, Building Information Management and Multi-Story Housing in Timber (MSHT). It explores what facilitates and hinders innovation diffusion, with a special focus on knowledge integration and mechanisms used in the diffusion process and their effects on knowledge development. The studies conducted were made in a Swedish context related to two separate companies work with diffusing the innovations, using a broad approach with different data collection methods.

The research departures in the interplay between the innovation content, context and process through which diffusion take place, displaying differences in how diffusion precedes and is affected. Where organizations are situated in the construction process and their ability to control the diffusion process is influential and diffusion is affected by established traditions and work procedures. For MSHT other structural materials form obstacles, while for BIM it is established work procedures and methods. Environmental pressure drives diffusion of MSHT and both innovations are supported by active clients. Diffusion also requires financial resources depending on the size of investment and associated risks. The cases show advantages with moving activities from projects into a continuous business that delivers to projects, where simplifying implementation is central. Mainly due to complexity, developing in steps enables simplifications and adjustments towards users in a controlled manner. MSHT to a higher degree depends on performing real projects for development and diffusion than BIM, which can be tested to a larger extent before diffusing into the real environment. MSHT in particular show a difference in relation to many traditional models of innovation and innovation diffusion where tests are assumed possible.

The research relates to and has emphasized interaction and dynamics in the diffusion process and has provided additional understanding for managing complexity in the diffusion process. Projects are the most crucial knowledge integration mechanism with many underlying mechanisms, since they are a result of the development and show consequences of work performed. The applicability of codified knowledge in combination with more interactionintensive mechanisms has been shown and the introduction of the knowledge type’s domain-specific, procedural and general knowledge, complementing the current use of tacit and explicit knowledge, has provided additional understanding for diffusion and related knowledge flows. There are however differences in how knowledge types develop for the innovations. General knowledge is more influencing for BIM, while MSHT is about developing domain-specific knowledge. MSHT is about learning something new, while for BIM it is about re-learning. Findings show relevance in both using and developing the framework of innovation in organizations by Rogers (2003) for future diffusion studies in construction management research as well as the necessity of developing knowledge concerning implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Halmstad: Halmstad University Press, 2018. p. 114
Keywords
Construction Sector, Innovation Diffusion, Systemic Innovation, Knowledge Integration, Knowledge Development
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-36248 (URN)978-91-87045-82-0 (ISBN)978-91-87045-83-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-02-01, O104, Kristian IV:s väg, Halmstad, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-08 Created: 2018-02-08 Last updated: 2018-02-08Bibliographically approved

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Lindgren, JohnWidén, KristianEmmitt, Stephen

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