Unravelling project ecologies of innovation: A review of BIM policy and diffusion


As the concept of Building Information Modelling (BIM) gains traction in the construction industry, many studies have been attracted to understanding its adoption in firms (micro-level), implementation in projects (intermediate level), and diffusion across the industry (macro-level). This is a theoretical paper which mobilises contextual theories from Social Science and Project Management, such as institutional logics and project ecologies respectively, to map and rationalise the various social layers activated in diffusing BIM innovation across different national contexts (countries). Drawing upon data about Anglo-Saxon and corporatist-type national business systems, there is currently a mismatch between their BIM innovation diffusion strategy – which unfolds in a top-down and bottom-up manner respectively –, and their intended outcomes. This study highlighted that the diffusion of BIM innovation has been seen as disruptive in the United Kingdom and incremental in countries such as the Netherlands and Norway. Apart from mapping various social layers activated in BIM diffusion, this study outlines implication for policy-makers and practitioners, by stressing that not only global solutions for BIM diffusion are probably misguided, but re-establishing the links between project and context is a comprehensive approach to dismiss the rhetoric of BIM panacea and a sensible way to increase BIM diffusion and effective BIM implementation in projects.

In International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) Conference
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Associate Professor in Management of Engineering Projects

Researcher and consultant at the intersection of management and digital economy