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  • 1.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Leiringer, Roine
    University of Hong Kong, Department of Real Estate & Construction.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Industrilized and sustainable construction.
    The Role of Co-creation in Enhancing Explorative and Exploitative Learning in Project-Based Settings2017In: Project Management Journal, ISSN 8756-9728, E-ISSN 1938-9507, Vol. 48, no 4, p. 22-38Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We study how co-creation practices influence explorative and exploitative learning in five collaborative construction projects with partnering arrangements. Drawing on a longitudinal case study, our findings reveal two different types of explorative learning processes (i.e., adaptation and radical development) and three different exploitative learning processes (i.e., incremental development, knowledge sharing, and innovation diffusion). Furthermore, co-creation practices enhance adaptation, radical development, and incremental development, which are typical intra-project learning processes. Co-creation practices do not, however, enhance knowledge sharing and innovation diffusion across projects. These findings concur with previous insights that the temporary and one-off nature of projects makes inter-project learning problematic.

  • 2.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Olander, Stefan
    Department of Construction Management, Lund University.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Widén, Kristian
    Department of Construction Management, Lund University.
    Managing short-term efficiency and long-term development through industrialized construction2014In: Construction Management and Economics, ISSN 0144-6193, E-ISSN 1466-433X, Vol. 32, no 1-2, p. 97-108Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is a strong need for a productive and innovative infrastructure sector because of its monetary value and importance for the development of a sustainable society. An increased level of industrialization is often proposed as a way to improve efficiency and productivity in construction projects. In prior literature on industrialized construction, there are however neither many studies addressing more long-term aspects of innovation and sustainability nor studies within the infrastructure context. Organizational theory suggests that firms need to be ambidextrous and focus on both long-term exploration of new knowledge and technologies and short-term exploitation of current knowledge and technologies, in order to achieve sustainable development. Therefore, an investigation of how both short-term exploitative performance objectives and long-term explorative development can be addressed when implementing industrialized construction in infrastructure projects was conducted. A case study consisting of four infrastructure projects shows that the main drivers for increased industrialization are of an exploitative nature, focusing on cost savings and increased productivity through more efficient processes. The main barriers to increased industrialization are however related to both explorative and exploitative activities. Hence, by managing the identified barriers and explicitly addressing both exploitation and exploration, industrialized construction can improve both short-term efficiency and long-term innovation and sustainability.

  • 3.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Managing exploration and exploitation in construction projects2013In: Proceedings for 7th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organisation / [ed] Ole Jonny Klakegg, Trondheim: Akademika forlag, 2013, p. 451-460Conference 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

  • 4.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Industrilized and sustainable construction.
    Managing the tensions between exploration and exploitation in large construction projects2017In: Construction Innovation, ISSN 1471-4175, E-ISSN 1477-0857, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 492-510Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose – Prior studies highlight the importance of building ambidextrous capabilities to achieve both exploitation of current knowledge and technologies to make profits today, and exploration of new knowledge and technologies to adapt to and prepare for tomorrow's demands. In spite of its theoretical and practical importance, research on organizational ambidexterity in project-based organizations is scarce. Thus, the purpose of the paper is to study how ambidexterity may be managed and how exploration and exploitation may be achieved in construction projects. The research identifies some drivers and barriers to exploration and exploitation and also sheds light on how various management approaches interact and affect exploration and exploitation activities. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical material is drawn from 40 semi-structured interviews with managers representing the client, the contractor and the designer involved in each of the seven large construction projects in the sample. Findings – In contrast to prior literature in high-tech industries where exploitation focuses on continuous development, exploitation in construction projects often involves adopting conventional methods and solutions based on existing knowledge without any development efforts at all. This may enhance short-term efficiency and lower risk at the project level but increase risk at the firm level. Tight time schedules hinder both radical innovations and incremental developments, and the findings also reveal that to invest in efforts on explorative solutions, it must be possible to exploit the solutions in the same project. Research limitations/implications – In this empirical context, the traditional structural and sequential ambidexterity solutions are not sufficient. In construction projects, contextual ambidexterity solutions in which key project actors collaborate in developing systemic innovations and fine-tuning solutions across projects are more effective. Practical implications – Sufficient project size and/or long-term contracts over a series of projects enhance both investments in explorative activities and exploitation through continuous developments from project to project. In design-bid-build contracts, the client and consultant often miss opportunities to explore new technical solutions that rely on contractor competencies. Early procurement of contractors (e.g. in collaborative design-build contracts) thereby enables the achievement of both exploration and exploitation. Originality/value – This study provides important input to the authors' understanding of how exploration and exploitation may be managed in project-based industries, which has been scarcely studied in previous ambidexterity literature.

  • 5.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Organizational ambidexterity in construction projects2014In: 2014 IEEE International Conference on Management of Innovation and Technology: ICMIT 2014, Singapore; 23 - 25 September 2014, Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Communications Society, 2014, p. 81-86, article id 6942405Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Most organizations need to be ambidextrous by exploiting current knowledge to make profits today as well as exploring new knowledge to 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 this study we investigate how exploration and exploitation is managed in inter-organizational projects, through a multiple case study of seven construction projects. Tentative findings show that project actors focus more on exploitation than on exploration and that exploitation often involves adopting conventional methods and solutions without any development efforts. The findings also reveal that investment in explorative innovations must be possible to exploit in the current project, since exploitation in future projects is uncertain.

  • 6.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Olofsson, Thomas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Lagerqvist, Ove
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Hinder och drivkrafter för industriellt anläggningsbyggande: Underlagsrapport till Produktivitetskommittén, Näringsdepartementet2012Report (Other academic)
  • 7.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Industrilized and sustainable construction.
    Organizational tensions when managing interorganizational projects: Applying a paradox perspective on large construction projects in Sweden2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the years, technological developments and societal changes have forced companies to modify their organizing practices. Companies operating in the construction sector are no exception, but due to their project-based structure, it is more difficult to coordinate change initiatives. Indeed, the construction sector is often described as conservative and unwilling to adopt change. However, there is a growing interest and ambition within the construction sector to develop and implement new ways of working. In addition, the need to adapt organizing practices of large construction projects due to societal changes is particularly strong because large construction projects are very dependent on a wide range of societal stakeholders.Changes in organizing practices as well as contextual changes often create new and intensify existing organizational tensions. Because most large construction projects span organizations, tensions can emerge and develop at several organizational interfaces. For instance, tensions related to control and flexibility can emerge between the client and the contractor, within each of these parties, but also between the project organization and societal stakeholders. Another type of tension relevant to construction projects is between the exploitation of current knowledge to perform efficiently today and the exploration of new knowledge in order to innovate for tomorrow’s demands. The abovementioned tensions have a paradoxical nature, meaning that although both elements in the tension make sense, they appear to be impossible to combine. Yet, applying a paradox perspective on organizational tensions recognizes that both elements are required when organizing. Moreover, prior research has shown that due to interdependencies between different organizing activities, responses to tensions may evolve into reinforcing cycles, substantially impacting performance. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to create an improved understanding of the dependencies between tensions at different organizational interfaces in large construction projects by applying a paradox perspective. Empirical material was drawn from a qualitative study of seven large construction projects in Sweden, including three rounds of interviews during a four-year period, site visits, and reading of project documentation. All projects had an original contract sum of at least 50 million Euros and durations over several years; they included both transport infrastructure and building projects. An initial analysis of changes that project managers in large construction projects perceived in their role due to changing external and internal conditions provided a better understanding of the origin and nature of tensions in contemporary large construction projects, resulting in Paper I. Moreover, specific questions on the subject of exploration/exploitation during the first round of interviews provided input to Papers II and III. The two concluding rounds of interviews focused on dependencies between the tensions related to control/flexibility at different organizational interfaces and, analyzed using a paradox perspective, resulted in Papers IV and V. This thesis contributes to the construction management literature by showing that despite institutional barriers, substantial changes in the organizing practices of large construction projects have occurred over the years. However, the statements and attitudes exhibited by several interviewees indicate that the construction sector’s reputation for being conservative has become institutionalized, blocking creativity and favoring exploitation over exploration. This thesis also contributes to the literature on managing large construction projects by showing that distinguishing between interorganizational and intraorganizational aspects is essential to achieving a better understanding of the dependencies between organizing activities. For instance, analyses using a systemic paradox perspective showed that tensions related to control/flexibility coexist at both interorganizational and intraorganizational interfaces and that there are interdependencies between the two tensions, resulting in reinforcing cycles. For example, urges from client governance to their project manager to increase control of the contractor translated into an increase of control over the contractor project manager by his/her governance forum in order to retain the contractor’s flexibility. This triggered further controls by the client, and so on, in a vicious cycle of control. Similarly, this thesis demonstrates that in order to better understand how exploration and exploitation in large construction projects is dependent on intraorganizational strategies and decisions, it is fruitful to apply a systemic paradox perspective and simultaneously analyze both intraorganizational and interorganizational aspects.In addition, this thesis contributes to the literature on paradoxical tensions by identifying tensions and reinforcing cycles simultaneously nested across both inter- and intraorganizational interfaces, thus further calling for a systemic view of paradoxical tensions.For practitioners it is therefore essential to reflect not only which project managers to appoint in large construction projects, but also simultaneously thoughtfully chose members of each governance forum to avoid vicious cycles to occur.

  • 8.
    Szentes, Henrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Industrilized and sustainable construction.
    Reinforcing cycles involving inter- and intraorganizational paradoxical tensions when managing large construction projects2018In: Construction Management and Economics, ISSN 0144-6193, E-ISSN 1466-433X, Vol. 36, no 3, p. 125-140Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, scholars have shown a growing interest in combining control and flexibility when organizing and managing large construction projects, in contrast with the traditional focus on control. Prior research recognizes that there is a paradoxical tension between control and flexibility, meaning that, while both approaches make sense individually, they appear impossible to combine. Large construction projects are interorganizational, which means that tensions between interorganizational control/flexibility coexist with tensions between intraorganizational direction/empowerment, but the interplay and possible reinforcing cycles involving the two tensions have rarely been investigated in prior research. A multiple case study of four large construction projects with three rounds of interviews show how intraorganizational direction/empowerment can influence interorganizational control/flexibility and vice versa, and demonstrate both vicious and virtuous reinforcing cycles that involve the two types of tensions. Therefore, contributing to the project management and construction management literature, it is argued that employing a systemic approach when studying interorganizational projects is essential. A systemic paradox perspective can reveal interdependencies between tensions at different organizational interfaces, improve the understanding of how individuals in all managerial positions interplay, and explain how reinforcing cycles emerge and develop; this is important to recognize when organizing, staffing and managing large construction projects.

  • 9.
    Szentes, Henrik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Organisering och ledning av stora byggprojekt: Slutrapport för SBUF-projektet: 124512014Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Forskning vid LTU.Flera stora byggprojekt pågår och planeras i Sverige, varav flera är skattefinansierade. Det ligger därför i både samhällets och byggbranschens parters intresse att utveckla kunskapen kring hur stora byggprojekt organiseras och leds, aktat de många samhällsförändringar som Sverige genomgått de senaste decennierna. Denna studie har följaktligen studerat hur olika samhällsförändringar påverkat förutsättningarna för stora byggprojekt, samt hur organisering och ledning såväl som utvecklingsfrågor påverkats.Ett specifikt utvecklingsområde som studerats är industriellt byggande i anläggningsbranschen. Resultaten visar på att samhällsförändringar såsom globalisering, urbanisering och teknologiska framsteg i många avseenden har ändrat förutsättningarna för stora byggprojekt, till exempel att fler intressenter måste hanteras, att tempot ökat samt att kraven på öppenhet och flexibilitet har ökat. Dessa nya förutsättningar har ibland skapat spänningar och konflikter mellan olika aspekter av att organisera och leda projekt. Ett exempel på konflikt är att rätt människor i organisationen är mer avgörande än någonsin samtidigt som LoU försvårar tillsättandet av en bra organisation samt att förekomsten av Megaprojekt leder till lokal resursbrist.Studien visar också på vikten men också utmaningarna med att skapa en organisatorisk förmåga att hantera både utnyttjandet av befintliga resurser för kortsiktig effektivitet och utforskande av långsiktiga innovationsmöjligheter. Befintliga kunskaper och metoder används ofta precis som de är utan finjusteringar, medan både ständiga förbättringar och mer radikala utvecklingsinsatser är mer ovanliga. Större utvecklingsfokus och ökad förmåga att hantera både kortsiktigt resursutnyttjande och långsiktigt utforskande kan främjas genom till exempel mer innovationsfokuserade beställare som uppmuntrar och möjliggör utveckling, incitamentsbaserade ersättningsformer samt långa och tillräckligt stora kontrakt som möjliggör upprepning, lärande och innovationsspridning mellan projekt.

  • 10.
    Szentes, Henrik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Paradoxical Organizational Tensions between Control and Flexibility When Managing Large Infrastructure Projects2016In: Journal of construction engineering and management, ISSN 0733-9364, E-ISSN 1943-7862, Vol. 142, no 4, article id 5015017Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent socioeconomic changes have created and intensified paradoxical organizational tensions that companies in numerous industries, including the construction sector, need to address when organizing and managing their activities. The nature of these tensions has not been sufficiently explored in the existing construction management literature. Thus, this study analyzes tensions between control and flexibility at different organizational interfaces, as perceived by the managers of three large infrastructure projects that were parts of two different megaprojects in Sweden. The empirical findings highlight several tensions within three types of interfaces, that is, external, intraorganizational, and interorganizational tensions, that are important for both project managers and project owners to understand. This paper contributes to the project and construction management literature by illustrating the importance of a systemic paradox perspective, which is obtained by combining the paradox literature and principal–agent theory. A systemic paradox perspective is required to understand how tensions between control and flexibility are interpreted by different parties and how tensions in different organizational interfaces are interrelated and may be addressed to avoid suboptimization

  • 11.
    Szentes, Henrik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Samhällsutveckling innebär nya förutsättningar för stora byggprojekt2014In: Samhällsbyggaren, ISSN 2000-2408, Vol. 2014, no 3, p. 38-40Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [sv]

    Inte sällan beskrivs byggbranschen som konservativ och motvillig till förändringar, både av folk i branschen, av forskare samt av folk i allmänhet. Likväl har byggbranschen under årens lopp genomgått ett antal förändringar, ofta som reaktioner på nya förutsättningar skapade av förändringar i det omgivande samhället. Den här artikeln redovisar hur ett antal projektledare i stora byggprojekt uppfattar att förutsättningarna för deras roll har förändrats de senaste åren, samt hur branschens självbild påverkar utvecklingen.

  • 12.
    Szentes, Henrik
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Societal changes and new conditions for the management of large construction projects2013In: Open Construction & Building Technology Journal, ISSN 1874-8368, Vol. 7, p. 182-192Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The construction industry is often described as mature, conservative and resistant to change in research studies, governmental reports as well as in media. Both scholars and policy makers thereby find it critical to encourage innovation, development, and change within the construction industry. This study takes on a different perspective by investigating changes that have actually taken place. The aim is to increase the understanding of both backgrounds of changes which occurred, as well as how the changes have entailed new conditions for the management of large construction projects in Sweden. People working as clients' project manager, contractors' project manager or design manager were interviewed to obtain their perceived views on changes influencing the execution of large construction projects. Substantial changes have taken place creating new conditions for the management of large construction projects and a better understanding of these new conditions is important when planning for new projects. Changes within the field are often reactions to societal changes, and thus often implemented in an uncoordinated way creating sub-optimization and problems for the personnel. It seems as if the reputation of the construction industry being conservative has become an institution it-self amongst many professionals within the industry, potentially creating a self-fulfilling prophecy

1 - 12 of 12
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