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An Institutional Approach to Digitalization in Sustainability-Oriented Infrastructure Projects: The Limits of the Building Information Model

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  • Ermal Hetemi

    () (Department of Industrial Economics and Management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lindstedtsvägen 30, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
    Departamento de Ingenería de Organizacíon, Administración de Empresas y Estadística, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain)

  • Joaquin Ordieres-Meré

    () (Departamento de Ingenería de Organizacíon, Administración de Empresas y Estadística, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain)

  • Cali Nuur

    () (Department of Industrial Economics and Management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lindstedtsvägen 30, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden)

Abstract

The transport sector accounts for a large share of global Co2 emissions. To mitigate the impact of climate change, several sustainability-oriented large-scale infrastructure projects such as electric road systems and expanding rail systems have recently been on the policy agenda. A parallel development that is expected to accelerate the transition of the transport sector is digitalization, which, although ongoing for many decades, has recently been augmented by concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI) and smart city technologies. The integration of these digitalization tools at the organizational level poses not only opportunities but also some challenges for the actors involved in infrastructure projects. An approach that is currently promoted in the infrastructure sector is the Building Information Model (BIM), which is a decision-making instrument that leverages various digitalization tools and applications. However, although the economic implications of BIM are widely discussed in the literature, the (inter-) organizational dynamics involving multiple actors in infrastructure projects are not fully grasped. Large infrastructure projects are sociotechnical endeavors embedded in complex institutional frames; hence the institutional norms, practices and logics in them are significant. Responding to this, this paper adopted an institutional analysis and put the BIM approach in the (inter-) organizational context in infrastructure delivery. Drawing on empirical data from three organizations in infrastructure delivery in Spain, this paper analyzed the tensions among actors during BIM adoption and implementation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ermal Hetemi & Joaquin Ordieres-Meré & Cali Nuur, 2020. "An Institutional Approach to Digitalization in Sustainability-Oriented Infrastructure Projects: The Limits of the Building Information Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(9), pages 1-20, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:9:p:3893-:d:356192
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