Knowledge flows in the road Industry – Queensland’s experience

Manley, Karen & McFallan, Stephen (2003) Knowledge flows in the road Industry – Queensland’s experience. In 21st ARRB and 11th REAAA Conference, 18-23 May, Cairns, Australia.


This paper is based on empirical data obtained from a large scale survey of the Queensland road industry in 2002. The survey focused on innovation activity in the industry and this paper examines a key part of that study – knowledge flows. This focus responds to the rapidly increasing knowledge intensity of successful and sustainable economic activity in the 21st century. Knowledge ‘flows’ and networking, both within organisations and between them, are seen as key elements in successful innovation processes. In turn, innovation is widely regarded as a key driver of economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The paper reports on knowledge flows between industry participants as revealed in the survey of over 200 contractors, consultants, clients and suppliers. Two types of knowledge flows are discussed – the first involves communication patterns, and the second involves the sources of new ideas about technologies and advanced practices. The tracing of these knowledge flows amounts to mapping business networks.

The objectives of this paper are to:

• measure the level of networking between organisations; • identify the key nodes in networks; • map the patterns of usage of key nodes by industry sub-sector, region and business size; and • determine whether there is a relationship between level of networking by an organisation and innovation adoption rates.

The most important finding of the study is that business networking, both in terms of consultation patterns and sources of new ideas of innovation, is positively related to innovation levels, measured by adoption activity. Participation in business networks is one of the key features that differentiates innovative businesses from other businesses.

The paper concludes by highlighting the value, for industry participants, of comprehensive relationships with the key nodes identified by the study.

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ID Code: 7299
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: innovation activity, construction industry, roads, knowledge flow, CRC for Construction Innovation, Program A : Business and Industry Development, Project 2001-012-A : Innovation Potential, Directions and Implementation in the Building and Construction Product System BRITE
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Civil Engineering not elsewhere classified (090599)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Innovation and Technology Management (150307)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > CRC Construction Innovation
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Icon.Net Pty Ltd
Copyright Statement: The Participants of the CRC for Construction Innovation have delegated authority to the CEO of the CRC to give Participants permission to publish material created by the CRC for Construction Innovation. This delegation is contained in Clause 30 of the Agreement for the Establishment and Operation of the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation. The CEO of the CRC for Construction Innovation gives permission to the Queensland University of Technology to publish the papers/publications provided in the collection in QUT ePrints provided that the publications are published in full. Icon.Net Pty Ltd retains copyright to the publications. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the CEO of the CRC. The CRC warrants that Icon.Net Pty Ltd holds copyright to all papers/reports/publications produced by the CRC for Construction Innovation.
Deposited On: 03 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:02

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