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Collective learning, collective knowledge and learning networks in construction


  • Wai-Ki Fu
  • Hing-Po Lo
  • Derek Drew


The interrelationships between collective learning, collective knowledge and learning networks are complex and difficult, especially in a construction context. A questionnaire survey was carried out in Hong Kong to test the hypothesis that practitioners who need a wider domain of knowledge for work learn more actively through their learning networks. This empirical work revealed a positive association between the demand for learning from others at work and the size of construction practitioners' learning networks. The analysis also revealed two opposing aspects of practitioners' learning behaviour influenced by the nature of their work. First, civil engineers tend to manage larger learning networks, given that they very often need to seek advice from other practitioners to deal with issues beyond their specialities at work and coordinate outputs of other practitioners as the project leader. Second, draughtsmen and clerks of works (or inspectors of works), whose work mainly involves complying with a finite scope of predetermined instructions and rules, appear not very active in network learning. These findings will be useful in developing learning policy for enhancing the competitiveness of the construction industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Wai-Ki Fu & Hing-Po Lo & Derek Drew, 2006. "Collective learning, collective knowledge and learning networks in construction," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(10), pages 1019-1028.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:24:y:2006:i:10:p:1019-1028
    DOI: 10.1080/01446190500228258

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. VĂ©ronique Ambrosini, 2001. "Tacit Knowledge: Some Suggestions for Operationalization," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(6), pages 811-829, September.
    2. Brian Uzzi & Ryon Lancaster, 2003. "Relational Embeddedness and Learning: The Case of Bank Loan Managers and Their Clients," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 383-399, April.
    3. Jeff E. Biddle, 1990. "Purpose and Evolution in Commons's Institutionalism," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 19-47, Spring.
    4. Julia Porter Liebeskind & Amalya Lumerman Oliver & Lynne G. Zucker & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1995. "Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms," NBER Working Papers 5320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Construction; knowledge; learning; rule; network;


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