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Innovation in small construction knowledge-intensive professional service firms: a case study of an architectural practice

Lu, SL and Sexton, MG 2006, 'Innovation in small construction knowledge-intensive professional service firms: a case study of an architectural practice' , Construction Management and Economics, 24 (12) , pp. 1269-1282.

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Abstract

Small construction knowledge-intensive professional service firms (SCKIPSFs) are becoming increasingly important agents of innovation within the construction industry. The nature and process of innovation in SCKIPSFs, however, is generally considered through the constraining prism of research results generated from significantly different contexts, such as from manufacturing sectors or non-project based firms. A theory of innovation for SCKIPSFs is developed from a longitudinal 22-month case study of a small architectural practice. Two forms of knowledge-based innovation were discerned from the empirical work: exploitative innovation and explorative innovation. 'Explorative innovation' was found to be located in immediate 'new' project domains, and entailed search, variation, experimentation, activity to solve project-specific problems; while 'exploitative innovation' concentrated on developing generic organisational infrastructure to 'refine' and 'improve the efficiency' of the firm operations to nurture capability for future activity. The key challenge for SCKIPSFs is to develop and manage an appropriate balance between explorative and exploitative innovation over time in order to generate sustainable competitive advantage.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Built environment, business & management, construction industry, construction management, economics, knowledge-intensive, professional service firms, innovation, small enterprises
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD0028 - 0070 Management. Industrial Management
Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Built and Human Environment
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
Journal or Publication Title: Construction Management and Economics
Publisher: Routledge Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0144-6193
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2007 12:20
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 15:49
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/698

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