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A knowledge-based approach to managing project change in the construction phase within collaborative team settings

Senaratne, S 2005, A knowledge-based approach to managing project change in the construction phase within collaborative team settings , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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Changes in construction projects are common and can lead to disruptive effects such as project delays, cost overruns and quality deviations. The rework due to unplanned changes can cost 10-15% of contract value. By managing these changes more effectively, these disruptive effects can be minimised or avoided. Previous research has approached this industry problem from an information-processing view with the introduction of hard IT based solutions. In this knowledge age, this study argues that effective change management can be brought about by understanding the significant role of knowledge during change situations. In managing change, the construction project team members bring their tacit and explicit knowledge into the problem situation and it is this knowledge that is captured, converted and shared between the parties during the change process. With this knowledge-based perspective of managing project change, the research problem is articulated for this study as follows: How does the construction project team manage knowledge during unplanned change in the construction phase within collaborative team settings? The research problem is investigated by a conceptual model supported by hypotheses, which recognises and integrates process, group, organisational and wider environmental characteristics within the change process. The research methodology for this study adopted a phenomenological research philosophy. Within this context, case studies were used to investigate the research problem. The principal data collection technique used in the case studies was the semi-structured interviews. Content analysis and cognitive mapping techniques were used to analyse the primary data. The case study findings reveal that different forms of knowledge are created and shared between project team members during problem-solving activities of change events. These knowledge flows are very much centred on tacit knowledge and experience of project personnel. This social construction and use of knowledge in change management challenges the prevailing codification knowledge management solutions based on 'hard' IT approaches, which do not appreciate and accommodate this social phenomenon. The study concludes by stressing the need to balance codification knowledge management strategies with 'soft' personalisation strategies to stimulate and support appropriate social interaction between team members and, thereby, enhance the creation, dissemination and shared understanding of tacit project experience. It is through the balance of codification and personalisation strategies that collaborative teams can successfully resolve and learn from change events in the construction phase of projects.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Sexton, MG (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Built Environment Sustainability and Transformation (BEST)
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2015 00:02

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