Role of knowledge management in supporting innovation and learning in construction

Maqsood, T 2006, Role of knowledge management in supporting innovation and learning in construction, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Business Information Technology, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Role of knowledge management in supporting innovation and learning in construction
Author(s) Maqsood, T
Year 2006
Abstract The research investigates the role of Knowledge Management (KM) in supporting innovation and learning in the construction industry. The Construction industry is complex in nature and notoriously fragmented suffering high losses in productivity. Being a substantial part of the national economy, the construction industry greatly influences the country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Innovation has lately been regarded as the key to improve its productivity and to change traditional and fundamental thinking that has plagued the industry for a long time leading to new and more rational philosophies. The research demonstrates that KM may act as an enabler of such innovation by facilitating organisational learning. The research is carried out in two phases. In Phase 1, the research employs grounded theory methodology to develop and map out the current state of knowledge related activities being undertaken in two leading Australian construction organisations. This results in the development of a model, the main depiction of which is a segregation between three crucial components (people, process & technology) of an organisation required to successfully carry out the construction work. It also helps identify the gap between the organisation's internal and external knowledge sources that restricts the pull of knowledge from external knowledge sources. The culture of the organisation is considered to provide this resistance. An improvement in this state through KM is the main objective of the research which is realised in Phase 2. Soft System Methodology (SSM) is utilised as a KM tool to achieve this objective in this phase. As one of the systems approaches, it has the capacity to make sense of intricate systems like const ruction where a complex interaction between people, process and technology occurs all the time. A mission critical business process of pre-tendering of a leading Australian construction contractor organisation is selected to carry out the SSM investigation that resulted in four SSM case studies. This investigation helps explain how KM initiatives through SSM improve the integration of people, process and technology; increasing the capacity of the organisation to pull external knowledge and improve its own internal knowledge bank. All these improvements help an organisation to transform itself into a learning organisation that could continually innovate.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Business Information Technology
Keyword(s) Construction industry
Knowledge management
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