Chapter 5: Networks and Sustainable Technologies: The Case of Scottish Social Housing
INTRODUCTION A number of recent studies reveal interest in networks as particular organizational forms that facilitate innovation. Different contributions have analysed the ‘make or buy’ decision and it has become increasingly clear that alternatives to internalizing are often found in some ‘third way’ (rather than market or hierarchy forms of organization) including joint ventures, networks or clans (Buckley and Casson 1990, Miles and Snow 1986, Ouchi 1980, Pfeffer and Nowak 1976). The general argument is that networks may create a high sense of mutual interest, communication and participation among organizations that may facilitate the efficient processing of information and generation of knowledge (Castells 1996, Nohria and Eccles 1992). As argued in Chapters 1 and 2, the construction industry is particularly well suited for the examination of these inter-organizational relations because it can be regarded as an archetypal network system where a coalition of organizations – including contractors, the government, clients, designers, subcontractors, suppliers and tenants – come together on a temporary basis to undertake each project (Gann 2000, Winch 1998). This chapter assesses the case of the introduction and diffusion of sustainable technologies in the Scottish social housing sector. This case is of particular interest because since 1997 Scottish Homes, the National Housing Agency, and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, have been active in fostering interorganizational collaboration and promoting sustainable construction products and processes through issuing policy guidance, briefing notes and training schemes. However, many of the problems of the performance of the construction industry seem to stem from inadequate inter-organizational...
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