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Construction client collaboration for inter-organizational innovation: do too many cooks really spoil the broth?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Project Communication.
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Our built environment has the power to influence where we live and work, how we transport ourselves, how and what we consume and many other behaviors in our everyday lives, in other words, it has a significant impact on our global environment and economy. Given the notable need for more sustainable development of both the global environment and economy, sustainability has become a critical factor also in the area of urban development. With this as a backdrop, the construction industry and its many actors, such as clients, contractors and suppliers, that collectively drive urban development, play a significant role in creating sustainable development.

Innovation is a cornerstone to achieve development, so also in the construction industry. However, with its many interrelated organizations, projects and actors, innovation inevitably becomes inter-organizational. From an urban development perspective, inter-organizational innovation will happen in a multi-project context where several construction projects, led and executed by different actors from different organizations, become interdependent and are therefore required to collaborate. In any construction project, the client holds a key position and has been identified as a critical supporter for successful innovation and collaboration. On the back of these dynamics, the purpose of this licentiate thesis is to explore clients’ role in a multi-project context where inter-organizational innovation is initiated to drive sustainable urban development.

From a contingency perspective, the purpose of this study has been explored through a multiple-case study where coordinated construction logistics, during the study, has been identified as inter-organizational innovation. The study has shown that coordinated construction logistics, developed for a multi-project context, must be developed and implemented differently than in a single project or organization. In other words, coordinated construction logistics can take the form of different types of construction innovation. The construction clients, in this thesis the building developers, are identified as being important to support innovation and collaboration within and between parallel and sequential projects. The study has also shown that different clients behave differently when inter-organizational innovation is present; whilst some are proactive to achieve development, others are hesitant and less supportive for change. The findings suggest that long-term committed clients take a more proactive stand for innovation, for example, by including innovation in their procurement strategies and reflecting on how to best implement it in their projects. Additionally, in a multi-project context, the collaboration between clients is found to be important in order to successfully implement innovation, for example to align procurement strategies with the next-door neighbors and to create opportunities to communicate with each other.

A theoretical contribution from this thesis is that coordinated construction logistics, which is often seen from a supply-chain management perspective, could be considered as inter-organizational innovation. This conclusion expands the understanding of the empirical phenomenon and its context. Furthermore, adding to the on-going discussion on clients as innovation supporters, their role as a potential innovation supporter is established in a multi-project perspective, but where differences between different types of clients must be taken into account. The multi-project context also implies an increased need for client collaboration, which is often informal, why the clients themselves need to handle all the aspects of collaboration. Tentative findings indicate that in this context time, spatiality, innovation and requirements will affect this collaboration. From a practical side, the findings show that initiating and implementing inter-organizational innovation requires understanding of the context, such as project objectives and the system. For clients and governments active in urban development, the thesis can guide the understanding of the importance of collaboration and choosing procurement strategy for inter-organizational innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018. , p. 50
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 2018:12
Keywords [en]
Construction industry, client, inter-organizational innovation, multi-project context, client collaboration, receptive context
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Real Estate and Construction Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227318ISBN: 978-91-7729-766-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-227318DiVA, id: diva2:1204490
Presentation
2018-05-28, Bora Bora, Teknikringen 10B, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20180508

Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-05-08 Last updated: 2018-05-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Coordinated Construction Logistics: an Innovation Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordinated Construction Logistics: an Innovation Perspective
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Coordinated construction logistics is an increasingly discussed topic in the Swedish construction industry. It is suggested as a mean to increase efficiency in transportation, decrease material usage, coordinate health and safety on-site, etc. There is much research on construction logistics seen from a supply chain management perspective, often highlighting construction logistics as a necessary rational tool to improve efficiency in construction industry. However, could there be other ways to studying this phenomenon? The purpose for this paper is to apply an innovation perspective on empirically found coordinated construction logistics models and explore them as different types of innovation and their change process. The findings suggest that the coordinated construction logistics models should so far be regarded as not fully embedded innovation as they have not yet changed the construction industry’s processes in the way they set out to do. The findings highlight differences between company-based models, project-based models, and system-based models, and suggest that differences in for example development and adoptability should be regarded both when conducting research on and when implementing coordinated construction logistics in practice.

Keywords
construction logistics; construction innovation; developer; supply-chain management; systemic innovation
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Real Estate and Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227319 (URN)
Note

QC 20180531

Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-05-08 Last updated: 2018-05-31Bibliographically approved
2. Users’ Influence on Inter-organizational Innovation: Mapping the Receptive Context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Users’ Influence on Inter-organizational Innovation: Mapping the Receptive Context
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Innovation is constantly present in the construction industry, however, mainly on a single project level. Initiating and implementing inter-organizational innovation in a multi-project context such as in urban development entails large complexity, for example due to the many interdependent projects and users of innovation. The users’ influence on inter-organizational innovation in a multi-project context has not been fully explored. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to discuss how users influence inter-organizational innovation in multi-project contexts by mapping the receptiveness for change.

Design/methodology/approach: A single case study approach was used, where empirical material including semi-structured interviews in combination with meeting observations, document studies and participative workshops. The empirical material, studying inter-organizational innovation in an urban development context, was mapped based on the receptive context for change framework.

Findings: A receptive context for change was not present in the studied multi-project context. Communication to develop and implement inter-organizational innovation was not sufficient and the clients’ procurement strategies were to a large extent not developed to facilitate inter-organizational innovation. Findings suggest differences in users’ possibility and aim to implement inter-organizational innovation.

Originality/value: The mapping of the receptive context to influence inter-organizational innovation widens the knowledge base on how inter-organizational innovation may be implemented in the loosely coupled construction industry. Furthermore, the paper adds knowledge to the discussion on clients as innovation supporters, by highlighting the importance of distinguishing between different types of clients.

Keywords
inter-organizational innovation, multi-project context, innovation supporter, users, procurement strategies, receptive context
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Real Estate and Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227320 (URN)
Note

QC 20180604

Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-05-08 Last updated: 2018-06-04Bibliographically approved
3. When you don’t have your own block: Horizontal supply chain integration in multi-project contexts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When you don’t have your own block: Horizontal supply chain integration in multi-project contexts
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Keywords
Partnering, supply chain integration, multi-project contexts, procurement
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Real Estate and Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227321 (URN)
Note

QC 20180604

Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-05-08 Last updated: 2018-06-04Bibliographically approved

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