The Handbook of Innovation and Services
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The Handbook of Innovation and Services

A Multi-disciplinary Perspective

Edited by Faïz Gallouj and Faridah Djellal

This Handbook brings together 49 international specialists to address an issue of increasing importance for the world’s post-industrial economies; innovation as it relates to services.
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Chapter 31: Innovation in Construction

Jan Bröchner


Jan Bröchner 31.1 Introduction Studies of innovation in the construction industry have usually treated construction as akin to manufacturing but nevertheless have produced findings more consistent with those of the rapidly growing body of knowledge related to innovation in services. At present there are a few monographs exclusively devoted to construction innovation: Gann (2000) takes a broad view of innovation in the sector and offers numerous examples, Miozzo and Dewick (2004) are good on strategic issues also for the largest contractors, while Barrett et al. (2008) concentrate on the smaller firms found within the sector. There is a wealth of articles, often with an empirical base in case studies and often published in construction-oriented journals, little read by mainstream service innovation researchers. This chapter reviews many of these contributions, emphasizing those authors who should be of interest from a services perspective when they analyse patterns of innovation and their causes in construction firms. Here, the starting point is the construction firm, basically the construction contractor, although many studies have a broader scope and include providers of knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) that are related to construction, such as engineering and design firms. In official statistics, the construction industry is usually classified apart from the service sector. However, there is no obvious reason why construction innovation should be fundamentally different from patterns found in the service sector. Rethinking industry classification in a demand perspective would place construction in a different context (Dalziel, 2007). There is considerable diversity in and between service...

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