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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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    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 13:20
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:49

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