Inter-organizational knowledge integration on construction projects : a social network approach

Ruan, Ximing (2007) Inter-organizational knowledge integration on construction projects : a social network approach. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This research compares knowledge integration in competitive and collaborative construction projects in the UK. It begins with the assumption that the most valuable commodity transferred along project supply chains is knowledge. It has been suggested that collaborative working methods (such as partnering) may represent a significant improvement in the way project knowledge can be captured and integrated. However, most academic work on knowledge management has concentrated on its integration within rather than between organizations: the topic is more difficult to address in multi-firm, project-based, and economically fragmented industries (such as construction). The present study focuses upon collaborative working as a vehicle for knowledge integration along the project supply chain. A review of the literature examines how recent approaches to construction organisation have sought to improve performance: these approaches all draw attention to such critical attributes as trust, commitment and relationships, all of which are difficult to measure. In this research, a social network analysis approach has been adopted to do this. This is the first time the technique has been put fully to this use in the context of construction projects. Software has been used to help visualize and compare knowledge networks in five projects (representing competitive and collaborative working) and this has provided data for comparison of different working patterns under different procurement systems. The working patterns and knowledge transactions in the two different procurement systems were shown to be different, and there were clear associations between the degree of collaborative working and the nature of social networks encountered. The technique has overcome previous difficulties in measuring certain attributes of collaborative working; has provided a way of benchmarking the differences in the way that competitive and collaborative working facilitate project knowledge integration; and represents a useful and novel way of analysing organizational behaviour in projects. It has explained why and how partnering and collaborative working can bring certain advantages.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K200 Building
Department: University Services > Research and Business Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2010 11:08
Last Modified: 09 May 2017 17:53
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1038

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