Supporting ICT diffusion in Australian construction organisations

Walker, Derek H.T. (2001) Supporting ICT diffusion in Australian construction organisations.


Construction organisations comprise geographically dispersed virtually-linked suborganisations that work together to realise projects. They increasingly do so using information and communication technology (ICT) to communicate, coordinate their activities and to solve complex problems. One salient problem they face is how to effectively use requisite ICT tools. One important tool at their disposal is the self-help group, a body of people that organically spring up to solve shared problems. The more recognised term for this organisational form is a community of practice (COP). COPs generate knowledge networks that enhance and sustain competitive advantage and they are also used to help COP members actually use ICT tools. Etienne Wenger defines communities of practice as “groups of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise” (Wenger and Snyder 2000, p139). This ‘chicken-or-egg’ issue about needing a COP to use the tools that are needed to effective broaden COPs (beyond co-located these groups) led us to explore how best to improve the process of ICT diffusion through construction organisations— primarily using people supported by technology that improves knowledge sharing. We present insights gained from recent PhD research results in this area. A semistructured interview approach was used to collect data from ICT strategists and users in the three large Australian construction organisations that are among the 10 or so first tier companies by annual dollar turnover in Australia. The interviewees were categorised into five organisational levels: IT strategist, implementer, project or engineering manager, site engineer and foreman. The focus of the study was on the organisation and the way that it implements ICT diffusion of a groupware ICT diffusion initiative. Several types of COP networks from the three Australian cases are identified: withinorganisation COP; institutional, implementer or technical support; project manager/engineer focussed; and collegial support. Also, there are cross-organisational COPs that organically emerge as a result of people sharing an interest or experience in something significant. Firstly, an institutional network is defined as a strategic group, interested in development of technology innovation within an organisation. This COP principally links business process domain experts with an ICT strategist.

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ID Code: 27492
Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation, Program A : Business and Industry Development, Project 2001-004-A : Knowledge Management and Innovation Diffusion
Copyright Owner: Icon.Net Pty Ltd
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Deposited On: 22 Sep 2009 01:43
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 18:08

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