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Client's championing characteristics that promote construction innovation

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Purpose ‐ Clients or users of products, processes or services are currently being identified as potential sources of innovation in construction. There are concerns about the degree of innovation within the construction industry, despite having potential to be innovative. The role that can be played by the construction client to promote innovation in the industry is well documented. However, lack of knowledge on the desirable characteristics of the construction client was identified as one of the barriers for the construction client to be an effective innovation promoter. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the characteristics of the construction client that promote innovation. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Multiple holistic case studies were used as the research strategy and semi-structured interviews were used as the principal data collection technique. Code-based content analysis and cognitive mapping were used to analyse the interviews. Data analysis was supported by two computer-aided softwares, NVivo and Decision Explorer. Findings ‐ Clients can increase the efficiency of work carried out towards the construction process, stimulate team dynamics, and team action through the championing characteristics, which in turn can strengthen the innovation process that lead to the innovative product. Being a team player, promoting respect for people, and knowledge and information dissemination are identified as constituents of the championing characteristics of clients that promote innovation in construction projects. The personal skills of clients such as competence, value judgement, flexibility, and self-motivation will energise the success of the championing characteristics. Originality/value ‐ The client characteristics identified from the study widen the knowledge base of the client to successfully engage in construction innovation.
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Keywords: Bridges; Client; Construction industry; Innovation; Roads; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 11 October 2011

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