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The construction industry as a loosely coupled system: implications for productivity and innovation

  • Anna Dubois
  • Lars-Erik Gadde
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    Previous research suggests that the construction industry is characterized by (1) particular complexity factors owing to industry specific uncertainties and interdependences, and (2) inefficiency of operations. The aim of this study was to analyse the operations and behaviour of firms as a means of dealing with complexity. The observations made indicate that the industry as a whole is featured as a loosely coupled system. Taking this as a starting point, the couplings among activities, resources and actors were analysed in different dimensions. The pattern of couplings builds on two interdependent layers: tight couplings in individual projects and loose couplings based on collective adaptations in the permanent network. It is concluded that the pattern of couplings seems to favour short term productivity while hampering innovation and learning.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Construction Management and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 621-631

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:20:y:2002:i:7:p:621-631
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