Loosely Coupled Systems of Innovation: Aligning BIM Adoption with Implementation in Dutch Construction

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As an innovation, building information modeling (BIM) plays a key role in the digital transformation of the construction industry. Whereas innovations affect and are affected by organizational behavior, they are better observed at a project level because they are shaped by a network of various project actors. This study connected intra- (micro) and interorganizational (meso) levels of BIM implementation. To explore the relation between BIM adoption drivers and BIM implementation in projects, three case studies were analyzed qualitatively through the theoretical lens of loosely coupled systems. The findings showed that although individual firms had strong external or internal BIM motivations and visions to adopt BIM innovation, the project networks rarely coordinated to support BIM implementation. Consequently, the project networks that were motivated by internal BIM adoption drivers (e.g., quality assurance) implemented BIM collaboratively and flexibly. Contrariwise, networks of firms that adopted BIM simply to comply with external demand (e.g., macroscopic market pressures or client demand) were rigid and competitive during BIM implementation and hindered knowledge transfer and innovation change management. Drawing upon the empirical data, other factors affecting BIM implementation and in need of further interorganizational alignment were corporate compatibility, interfirm knowledge mobility, and interfirm power dynamics. The implication is the need for further alignment of visions about BIM innovation decision making across firms to support effective BIM implementation in projects.

In Journal of Management in Engineering (JME)
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Associate Professor in Management of Engineering Projects

Researcher and consultant at the intersection of management and digital economy