Recognising and rewarding innovation in construction: exploring disconnections in managerial discourse

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The construction industry has often been considered a 'low innovation' sector. This research seeks to understand more deeply the manifestation of innovation at the construction workplace and raises questions as to whether there is really a dearth of innovative practices in construction. A series of 20 interviews were undertaken with manager and workers across a typical construction supply chain. The interviews were supplemented by participant observations in a single case organisation. The inquiry process sought the stakeholders’ interpretation of what innovation meant for them in construction, and explored the implications ‘innovation’ had on practice. The findings revealed the existence of a (misguided) sense of orthodoxy in the way the extant literature defined the concept of innovation. Accepted measures of innovation mean very little for workers who have to deal with operational realities of making the construction project work. Managerial interviews have highlighted their tendency for offering idealised accounts of what innovation means to the business and how innovation works. Conversely, the differing explanations by the workers show a distinct lack of recognition and reward for innovative practices in the industry. This research makes the case for a need to broaden the way innovation is conceptualised and measured.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventGlobal Innovation in Construction Conference - Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …


ConferenceGlobal Innovation in Construction Conference
Period1/01/09 → …


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