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Technological University Dublin Technological University Dublin ARROW@TU Dublin ARROW@TU Dublin

Other Resources School of Surveying and Construction Management

2018-11-01

Keeping up with the Joneses: Social Contagion and Knowledge Keeping up with the Joneses: Social Contagion and Knowledge Acquisition in Irish Construction Professional Service Firms Acquisition in Irish Construction Professional Service Firms

Roisin Murphy

Technological University Dublin, roisin.murphy@tudublin.ie Oluwasegun Seriki

Technological University Dublin, oluwasegun.seriki@tudublin.ie

Follow this and additional works at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/beschreoth

Part of the Business Commons, and the Education Commons

Recommended Citation Recommended Citation

Murphy, R. & Oluwasegun, S. (2018) Keeping up with the Joneses: Social Contagion and Knowledge Acquisition in Irish Construction Professional Service Firms, 9th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland.

This Presentation is brought to you for free and open access by the School of Surveying and Construction Management at ARROW@TU Dublin. It has been accepted for inclusion in Other Resources by an

authorized administrator of ARROW@TU Dublin. For more information, please contact

yvonne.desmond@tudublin.ie, arrow.admin@tudublin.ie, brian.widdis@tudublin.ie.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License

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Keeping Up With The Joneses: Social

Contagion And Knowledge Acquisition In

Irish Construction Professional Service

Firms

Oluwasegun Seriki and Dr. Róisín Murphy

School of Surveying and Construction management, Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street, Dublin, Ireland

(3)

Table of contents

01

Slide-01 Table of contents

Theoretical model

04

Survey

05

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

08

02

03

06

07

Discussion

IMPLICATIONS FOR LEARNING IN CPSFs

Methodology Introduction

Context

09

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Construction industry in Ireland: undergoing a period of change and

uncertainty.

Lack of focus on behavioural patterns affecting decision-making in

construction firms, particularly knowledge acquisition (KA).

Social contagion (SC) theory asserts that the spread of ideas,

attitudes, or behaviour patterns in a group is achieved through imitation and conformity.

Limited inquiry into SC theory within construction contexts,

particularly within high knowledge intensive PSFs.

Objective:

To explore the applicability of social contagion theory in

knowledge acquisition in construction PSFS.

Methodology:

Literature review and quantitative survey

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4

- Knowledge management is beneficial but no distinction as to how the system works (Carrillo & Chinowsky, 2006)

- The processes of knowledge acquisition and application are key to firm growth and performance (Penrose, 1959), but there is no explicit reference to how this knowledge is acquired or strategic importance.

- Egbu (2000): construction literature is still lacking as to whether managers evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of KA.

Problem:

We do not know why firms acquire knowledge for strategic

decision-making.

Research question: How does knowledge acquisition occur in construction PSFS?

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Research purpose: (Saunders et al., 2009). Exploratory

Exploratory research: a means to discover “what is happening” and “to seek new insights” without investigating reasons (Robson, 2002).

Research Approach (Epistemology): Inductive approach

Research philosophy: Pragmatism (no single viewpoint can give the entire picture); there are multiple realities

Methodological choice: Quantitative method

Research strategy : Survey

Time horizon Cross-sectional studies make comparisons at a single point in time

Sampling: Purposive sampling

Research population: Firms within the SCSI

Slide-04- Methodology

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6

Slide-05-SC Theoretical model for knowledge acquisition

New Knowlegde

Communities of practice(E.g. RICS, ASCE, CIOB)

Early Adoption phase

Industry best practices

Knowledge leader

Contagion Effect

New Knowledge Diffusion Burgeoning Effect

Knowledge Herding Contagion Effect Government Policy Economy Client Requirements Competition within the Industry Knowledge Homogenisation Phase • Low Exclusivity • Hard to differentiate services • Cost leadership is major clout

SOCIAL CONTAGION FRAMEWORK FOR NEW KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION IN CPSFs

New Knowledge Diffusion

Eroding Differentiation Clustering

Individual CPSFs with differentiated knowledge base

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Pilot tested

Ethical clearance sought from DIT Ethics team (Obtained)

Sent out to 236 member firms of the Society of Chartered surveyors via

Survey Monkey.

Open for one month.

Responses were anonymised and compliance with DIT Ethics guidelines

and GDPR were strictly adhered to.

Total responses received was 66 responses, being 27.69% of the entire

sample.

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8

Slide-07-Discussion

Knowledge acquisition metrics

Responses Our knowledge acquisition process is formal/deliberate and

driven by top management

20.31%

Our knowledge acquisition process is formal/deliberate and

driven by staff across the organisation

21.88%

Knowledge acquisition is emergent and driven by top

management

17.19%

Knowledge acquisition is emergent and driven by staff across

the organisation

10.94%

We have little consideration for tracking knowledge acquisition;

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A considerable number of construction PSFs are in auto-pilot

regarding knowledge acquisition i.e. just keeping up with the Joneses’.

Understanding the SC effect on KA will allow managers to craft a

clear knowledge acquisition plan for their strategy, rather than simply following the crowd.

The ability to effectively manage the alignment, between KA and

corporate strategy, could potentially provide the firm with a competitive advantage.

It is hard to compete within PSFs if differentiation is eroded as it is

the major competitive choice of most PSFs

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10

SC research is still underdeveloped in

construction.

KA in construction PSFs is being influenced

by SC.

Future research will focus on acquiring

qualitative data to support data from the

quantitative stream.

Potential for stage to be set for exploring

social contagion in general strategic

management research

Slide-09- Conclusions and Recommendations

Social contagion presents a useful mechanism for

explaining knowledge acquisition trends in highly skilled construction PSFs –

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contact information Author: oluwasegun.seriki@dit.ie Supervisor: Roisin.murphy@dit.ie

Questions?

Thank you

References

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