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Title: A holistic and systemic model of collaboration in the AEC industry
Author: Sujan, Sujesh Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 5056
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2020
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The Architectural-Engineering-Construction (AEC) industry is currently undergoing changes in digitalisation aimed at improving the information development and transfer between stakeholders. The changes in delivery required for digitalisation e.g., implementation of Building Information Management (BIM), is systemic. Barriers to implementing BIM and several project success factors are human centred. In the construction management, less importance is given to integrated processes and collaborating people when compared to the technical aspects. According to scholars, academic knowledge regarding factors affecting collaborating people is fragmented. Additionally, there is a difference between academic knowledge and the actual needs of practice. The aim of this research is to understand the factors affecting project level collaboration and effective digitalisation by application of theory and reflection on knowledge interpreted from practitioner experience. By adopting a holistic perspective of reality, the thesis raises some core issues about AEC industry practice. The thesis therefore asks the question; What could enable efficient project level collaboration and implementation of digitalisation in the AEC industry? The ‘CIFE Horseshoe Framework’ was used to guide the multi-disciplinary research approach. Data was collected from semi-structured interviews with a Project Management (PM) firm in Finland and focus groups with AEC firms in Norway. The analysis of the data was validated with five expert semi-structured interviews from the UK to ensure that the interpretation of data was consistent with industry practice. Thematic analysis was used to identify, analyse and report patterns within qualitative data. The research combines approaches and knowledge from psychology, complexity science, sociology and business to induce understanding of current collaborative practice. A holistic model of project level collaboration was developed that placed factors from Human Psychology and Culture (HP&C) at the foundation of factors from AEC practice. The development of the model contained in this thesis facilitates a more holistic understanding of practice and therefore, it enables the theoretical application from psychology on the client driven and contract inflicted biases in decision-making. Furthermore, it enabled reflection on digitalisation in relation to collaborative practice; suggestions on the way industry could enable better collaboration and more efficient implementation of digitalisation. The holistic understanding also enabled the combination of multiple influences on practitioner motivation from their organisation, the client, project social climate and standard contracts. In conclusion, knowledge from actual practice has been interpreted to induce a holistic model of project collaborative practice. It shows that changes in practice (e.g., driven from digitalisation) must consider the social and psychological capability and expectations of people. Furthermore, the developed model provides a way to bring together multiple concepts in a structured manner by connecting various concepts representing reality, that appear fragmented in academic literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral