Boundary-spanning for managing digital innovation in the AEC sector


Managing projects in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) undergoes a digital transformation as novel technologies emerge. Digital technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), push this transformation. Innovation happens in firms and project-based organisations where agents shape how digital technologies are adopted and implemented. This study offers insights into agents of digital innovation, by conducting engaged scholarship within the case study of one large international multi-disciplinary consultancy. The study first builds upon qualitative data collected by interviewing digital agents. Additional data, for triangulation and research validation, were collected from an internal online platform. The analysis revealed a disconnect between digital agents’ technical background, skills and their managerial routines. These individuals crossed professional, hierarchical and organisational boundaries, showed multi-membership and held fluid identities. This has implications for the interfaces between organisational behaviour and projects. The study concludes with suggestions for AEC organisations to reap the benefits of digitalisation.

In Architectural Engineering and Design Management (AEDM) journal
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki
Associate Professor in Management of Engineering Projects

Researcher and consultant at the intersection of management and digital economy