Social interactions in construction design team meetings

Ponton, Hazel (2021) Social interactions in construction design team meetings. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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The design process for construction projects is widely recognised as being challenging to manage. This is partly due to the fragmented nature of the design and construction. How designers and constructors interact at this interface merits investigation. This study examines how the designers and constructors interact with one another during design team meetings and how these social interactions affect group decision-making. An ethnographic, non-participatory observer approach was adopted to gather qualitative data from seventeen consecutive design team meetings across three live case study projects. The primary data is 360° panoramic audio and visual video-camera footage. The nature of the data allowed for observation and analysis of all the meeting participants' simultaneous verbal and non-verbal actions and reactions. An ethnographic account of the social interactions during the design meetings is presented as a thick description to present a detailed narrative of the group behaviour. The social cohesion and intragroup conflict events, which are identified as the dominant forms of interactions, were collated into packets of rich data. These packets were organised and structured using NVivo computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. Conversation extracts are presented to provide a deep level of analysis of typical social events. The results of the analysis show that instances of social cohesion and intragroup conflict perform distinct functions that impact the design coordination and decision-making process. The results also indicate that social cohesion is created and fostered through humour, familiar behaviour patterns and demonstrations of solidarity, praise and support. The presence of social cohesion allows potentially dysfunctional task and process-related conflict to be mitigated successfully. The study contributes to knowledge and practice through a greater understanding of theories of organisational behaviour when applied to interdisciplinary project teams and group decision-making. It also makes a methodological contribution in terms of the novel (in this context) use of a 360° panoramic camera to gather verbal and non-verbal audio and visual, simultaneous data from a “central” position.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organisational behaviour, Video data, Video ethnography, Team behaviour, Decision-making
Subjects: H100 General Engineering
H200 Civil Engineering
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2022 14:15
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 14:30

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