Blockchain-Based Innovation in UK Construction: A User Perspective


Innovative blockchain-based technologies are promising tools to address issues of limited trust and transparency across the construction industry’s supply chains. To provide further insight on how to encourage blockchain-based technologies adoption in construction, this study examines the forces that enable and prevent blockchain adoption, in addition to the associated perceived benefits and perceived risks. Exploratory research is conducted involving eight frontier construction companies in the UK construction industry and includes consultants, architects and contractors. The findings have revealed that blockchain adoption in construction is driven by forces encouraging the change, including the pursuit of efficient technological solutions such as blockchain to overcome the declining economic environment in UK construction, a digitally savvy workforce (i.e. millennials) acting as change agents driving technological change, and the pursuit of more data availability to combat skill shortages worldwide. However, forces restraining the change also persist including the technological ambiguity of blockchain tools, lack of interoperability with enterprise systems and industry-wide misperceptions surrounding blockchain. The findings have also revealed discrepancies among the multi-disciplinary stakeholders regarding the perceived benefits and perceived risks of the technology. Lack of education, misuse of technology and financial losses are considered major risks, in addition to data security and management issues. On the other hand, major perceived benefits include increased cybersecurity, transparency and openness, and effective dispute resolution. Recommendations are developed to support blockchain-based innovations adoption in the construction industry. The main contribution of this research project is the development of a preliminary framework of potential risks and benefits of blockchain-based technologies which can assist advocates of blockchain in the development of strategies to increase the rate of adoption in the construction industry.

In 2020 20th European Academy of Management (EURAM 2020) Conference