Developing Digital Project Delivery Routines Around Frequent Disruptions: How Do AEC Organizations Respond to Disruptive Information Exchange Requirements?
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The unprecedented variation of information integration agendas in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry disrupts the development and maintenance of information exchange routines in firms. This research probed this important emerging phenomenon in three longitudinal ethnographic case-studies. The first case-study answered the question “What types of disruptions do firms experience in working with custom information exchange requirements?” and found that custom information exchange requirements can be disruptive in that they constrain technological and organizational settings and undermine the scope of work, sequence of actions, and timeline of enacting routines in practice. To understand organizational responses to such disruptions, the second case-study offered answers to the question of “how firms perceive, interpret, and act upon disruptive information exchange initiatives in a project?”, thereby revealing three reasoning mechanisms that underpin organizational responses: deductive, inductive, and abductive. With temporary nature of individual projects that limit opportunities to balance abductive and inductive reasoning (important for endogenous improvement of routines), firms are likely to identify and enact solutions that are temporary in nature, highly divergent from existing routines, and therefore, not durable nor effective in contributing to the refinement of information exchange routines. The third case-study complemented these findings by answering to the question “How do firms perceive and respond to the surge of disparate information exchange initiatives in a multitude of projects?” This case spotlighted the shifting loci of information integration in firms, wherein the custom information integration requirements in individual projects undermine internal information integration among projects, portfolios, and operations in firms. This study also revealed that practitioners either separated custom and durable logics of their practice or they found effective strategies to meld them. Based on these insights, this dissertation conceptualized genericity-complexity trade-off in information exchange routines to explain how firms develop routines around the frequent disruptions. Generic routines facilitate addressing custom information exchange requirements with ad hoc and temporary responses in projects, while complex routines systemized, coordinated, and distributed responses within and among different projects and organizational constellations. This research discusses the implications of genericity-complexity trade-off in information exchange routines for internal information integration and knowledge sharing in firms.
- Built environment