Construction projects as mechanisms for knowledge integration: Mechanisms and effects when diffusing a systemic innovation

John Lindgren, Stephen Emmitt, Kristian Widen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.
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. 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. 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. 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. The research provides insight into systemic innovation diffusion over a series of projects and focuses on both projects and the construction process.
LanguageEnglish
Article number10.1108/ECAM-02-2017-0022
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
StatusAccepted/In press - 2 May 2018

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Innovation
Timber
Knowledge integration
Construction project

Cite this

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title = "Construction projects as mechanisms for knowledge integration: Mechanisms and effects when diffusing a systemic innovation",
abstract = "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.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. 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. 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. 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. The research provides insight into systemic innovation diffusion over a series of projects and focuses on both projects and the construction process.",
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