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Paper info: THE INNOVATION JOURNEY IN CONSTRUCTION – CONSIDERING THE CONNECTING ROLE OF COMMUNITIES AND NETWORKS OF PRACTICE

Title


THE INNOVATION JOURNEY IN CONSTRUCTION – CONSIDERING THE CONNECTING ROLE OF COMMUNITIES AND NETWORKS OF PRACTICE

Authors


Florence Crespin-Mazet, Karine Goglio-Primard,
Malena Ingemansson Havenvid
Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
Sweden
Malena Ingemansson Havenvid and Ase Linne

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2018.

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Abstract


Within management studies, the construction sector is often identified as a “special case” (Harty, 2008) and has long been considered less innovative than other industries. Two oft- pointed to organisational specificities that separate this industry from traditional manufacturing are its project-based character and the scarcity of longer-term relationships (Miozzo and Dewick, 2004; Bygballe et al., 2010). In turn, this creates specific conditions for how actors can interact, learn and innovate over time. On the one hand, projects are, due to their interactive nature, viewed as innovative arenas for the birth of new ideas and solutions. On the other hand, project-specific solutions are seldom scaled up and turned into widespread innovations (Winch, 2003, 2014), even if the variety of interfaces between the project, firm and industry levels should constitute various space for innovation (Bygballe and Ingemansson, 2014). This problem is deemed to originate from the disconnection between the temporary project environment and the permanent organisation of firms: project-led learning and solutions are hard to transfer to the wider organisation of the firm and hence, to turn into business-learning (Dubois and Gadde, 2002a; Brady and Davies, 2004; Hartmann and Dorée, 2015). In this paper, we deal with the inherent paradox of this industry being inventive from a short-term stance (i.e. in projects) but being less effective in fostering learning and innovation from a long-term perspective. We focus on the interactive learning mechanisms and processes supporting the transformation of a new idea into widespread use. In doing so, we ask the following research question: how can construction firms capitalize on new ideas and solutions across the local and global company levels and their temporary and permanent networks in generating innovations?