Public Policy and Industry Views on Innovation in Construction
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In several countries, governmental agencies have long expressed their concerns about the construction industry’s performance, its low productivity and inability to innovate. At the same time public funding of construction-related research and development (R&D) has been reduced, and the responsibility for improving performance transferred to the industry. Drawing on a study on the Swedish and Norwegian construction industries, this paper investigates public policy and industry views on construction innovation, and compares these views with recent theoretical conceptions of innovation, from a network perspective. The findings reveal that the governmental bodies facilitating and funding construction R&D, and the construction industry itself, display partly different views on innovation, both in terms of what innovation actually means and what spurs innovation in this particular setting. The contribution of the paper is twofold: firstly, it reveals different views and discusses their implications for innovative behaviour, and secondly, it suggests some key policy and managerial implications of the study from a network perspective of the business landscape. Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful for the valuable comments given by participants at the IMP journal seminar in 2011 and by the guest editor and reviewers from the IMP journal. The paper has in particular benefitted from discussions with and comments from Lars-Gunnar Mattsson, Professor Emeritus at Stockholm School of Economics. The studies reported in the paper have been financed by the Swedish Construction Federation, Swedish Handelsbanken and a collection of companies and industry organisations in the Norwegian construction industry.
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