Creating organizational change and innovation: An action research oriented study of participative organizational change and innovation in the Norwegian AEC industry
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This thesis contributes to the understanding of how to create organizational change and innovation in companies of the Norwegian Architects, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. The thesis, then, inquires into the conditions necessary for how the collective practice of collaboration and execution in building projects can be changed emphasizing the emancipatory potential of conversations in arenas for dialogue. The aim is to achieve new useful collective practice in projects, which in the end entails increased competitiveness for the companies involved. This implies that organizational change and innovation ultimately encompass the total value-creating chain of all the actors involved in the building project. That means all from the finished building including the physical construction process on the building site and the end-consumers that are going to use or own it, to the initial programming stage with the first drawing sketches of the architect. The thesis will argue that organizational change and innovation in AEC companies does not emerge on its own through for instance “linear-control” oriented models of planning and subsequent plan implementation or models for increased managerial project control. To the contrary, the thesis will show that processes of change and innovation are created through active and broad participation by all actors directly involved in the project, companies as well as single individuals in arenas for dialogue. The objective of this thesis, then, is to contribute to how organizational change and innovation can be created, that is; what are the conditions necessary to achieve organizational change and innovation in AEC companies? And next; how can organizational change and innovation be spread among the companies in the Norwegian AEC industry? These are the two major research questions of the study. The thesis is an action research-oriented case study based on collaboration with a Research & Development (R&D)-program called The Integrated Building Process (the SiB – Samspillet i Byggeprosessen) jointly sponsored by four Norwegian AEC companies and the Research Council of Norway (RCN). My doctoral grant, including abroad stay as a visiting research scholar at Stanford University, California, USA, summer 1998 and fall 1999, was 100 % sponsored by the RCN, the Industry and Energy division. The field research was carried out in a 4 ½-years period from 1997 to 2001.