From relational to technological trust: How do the IoT and Blockchain technology fit in?


The construction industry is complex, fragmented and struggles to cope with an intricate and geographically diverse Supply Chain (SC) where sophisticated flows of materials, information and capital take place in a dynamic environment. In this context, building trust among partners is a necessary requirement to deliver a successful project on time and on budget. This paper investigates the main factors that build inter-firm trust in large construction projects and explores the disruptive effect that the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain (BC) could have in this process. The findings are based on an in-depth analysis of the literature and ten one-to-one telephone and face-to face interviews. The findings contribute to the literature by suggesting that a Blockchain-enabled IoT ecosystem has the potential to generate inter-firm trust at the front-end, during contract development, and throughout the construction phase. Moreover, the data denotes the need for further technological adoption in the construction industry as a means of smoothing the transition from relational trust to technological trust.

In 2019 European Conference on Computing in Construction (EC3)
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Associate Professor in Management of Engineering Projects

Researcher and consultant at the intersection of management and digital economy