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Managing exploration and exploitation in construction projects
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
2013 (English)In: Proceedings for 7th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organisation / [ed] Ole Jonny Klakegg, Trondheim: Akademika forlag, 2013, 451-460 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Prior research has shown that companies in various industrial contexts need to achieve both exploitation of current knowledge and technologies to make profits today, and exploration of new knowledge and technologies to adapt to changing conditions and prepare for tomorrow’s demands. The capacity to achieve both exploration and exploitation is especially problematic in project based organizations due to projects’ discontinuous nature. In spite of its theoretical and practical importance, research on exploration and exploitation in projects and project-based organizations is scarce. The purpose of this study is to investigate how exploration and exploitation is managed in construction projects. Empirical data was collected through a multiple case study involving interviews with the client’s project manager, the contractor’s project manager, and the design manager in seven construction projects. Tentative findings show that the project actors often focus more on exploitation than on exploration although they acknowledge the importance of exploration too. However, exploitation often involves adopting conventional methods and solutions based on existing knowledge without any development efforts. Time constraints in tight schedules are hindering both radical innovations and continuous developments. The findings also reveal that explorative solutions must be possible to exploit in the same project. Sufficient project size and/or long-term contracts over a series of projects therefore enhance both investments in explorative activities and exploitation through continuous developments from project to project. Exploration activities are mostly performed in early stages while the focus on exploitation strengthens as the project proceeds. Exploration is often conducted by the contractor or by the client, consultant and contractor together. Hence, in design-bid-build contracts the client and consultant often miss opportunities to explore new technical solutions. Early contractor involvement, (e.g. in Design-build contracts) thereby enable the achievement of both exploration and exploitation

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trondheim: Akademika forlag, 2013. 451-460 p.
Research subject
Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Construction Engineering and Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-37903Local ID: c181235c-3c52-4cee-8411-816b68a2cca5ISBN: 9788232102730 (electronic)OAI: diva2:1011401
Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization : 12/06/2013 - 14/06/2013
Godkänd; 2013; 20130909 (pererik)Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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