Graham, Brian and Thomas, Ken (2007) THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT FOR IRISH CONSTRUCTION ORGANISATIONS THROUGH GROUNDED THEORY. In: Connecting Theory & Practice, Irish Academy of Management, 10th Annual Conference, 3-5 September 2007, Queen's University, Belfast.

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The construction industry is recognised as being poor at learning on a consistent basis and improving performance and is notoriously slow in adapting to progressive change. Knowledge Management (KM) has been promoted as a means of harnessing and utilising intellectual resources to address these challenges, in addition to improving innovation, business performance and client satisfaction. Two categories requiring KM in the construction industry have been identified; within projects, across temporary, multi-discipline project organisations; and within individual firms. It is accepted that there may be much greater potential for KM within individual companies. Despite the recognised need to adopt KM, it is considered to be in its infancy in the construction industry and is seen as a recent and evolving practice for construction organisations. The lack of a working definition of knowledge within construction organisations and awareness of the importance and potential advantages of KM reflects a casual approach, and indicates the need for further exploration of knowledge and KM-related issues. There is a dearth of empirical research and KM models for construction, resulting in the continuing need for the development and testing of such models. One theoretical model which was developed for, and tested by the leading Australian construction organisations was found to be conceptually too complex to understand and implement, even by some KM specialists within the contributing organisations. This paper reports upon ongoing research into KM within the leading Irish construction organisations, and presents a strategic framework for the development of a KM model through a grounded theory approach. To-date, the research has engaged many of the leading construction organisations and has gained the support of Engineers Ireland (the country’s leading professional body), the Construction Information Technology Alliance (CITA). The research has confirmed the need for a more coherent approach to managing knowledge and has highlighted a lack of understanding of KM and knowledge within the organisations involved. Through a cooperative approach between industry, academia and a professional body, the strategic framework aims to develop and test a model of KM for construction. The adoption of grounded theory will aid the practicality of the developed model as it produces explanations that are recognisable to the subjects of the research. A key objective of the research is to devise CPD accredited education and guidance resources based on the developed model, to improve awareness, understanding, and implementation of KM within construction organisations. The delivery of such resources will contribute towards the evaluation of the developed model in terms of its usefulness and credibility with industry. It is expected that the research will contribute to the current body of KM research while having a real impact on the development and implementation of KM in construction organisations. The value which academic research can deliver to organisations has been questioned by a number of the research participants. By demonstrating that a collaborative approach between industry, academia and professional bodies can lead to be mutually beneficial, a new agenda for research may emerge in what is a traditional, conservative industry.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments or Groups: Construction Industry Research & Knowledge Centre > Knowledge Management (KM)
Construction Industry Research & Knowledge Centre
Divisions: School of Engineering > Department of Construction and Civil Engineering
Depositing User: Brian Graham
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2007 15:03
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:25

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