A European Analysis
Construction firms are embedded in a tight network of organizations which includes other industries in the supply stream, end-users as well as government agencies. In this network, contractors are important sources, and adopters, of innovations that improve construction technologies and act as important mediators of the different flows of technology and information in the construction industry. However, the extent to which contractors and other organizations play a major role in the development and diffusion of innovation, depends upon a number of factors. These include the form of ownership and management structures and the type of networks of relations and interactions with other contractors, professionals, subcontractors, suppliers, the government and research institutes and universities. Our research shows that these factors vary across different European countries but in each case act as important determinants of the nature and extent of development and adoption of innovation in construction. IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY Policies and initiatives to improve the adoption and diffusion of innovation in construction must recognize this finding explicitly. The mere availability of innovative construction products and processes is not a sufficient condition for their adoption and diffusion. Certain forms of ownership and management structures, along with particular types of network relations, facilitate investment in new technologies. In their absence, contractors and other organizations must be assisted by appropriate, and wide-ranging, government initiatives. The evidence from the five European countries presented in this book shows that government can play an important role in supporting the development and adoption of innovations through a number...
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