Expansive learning in contemporary construction organisations

Purpose – The evolving roles of BIM and smart building technologies in the design and management of construction projects often present unexpected events and variabilities, which tend to erode professionals’ prior knowledge authority. The purpose of this paper is to explore how construction organisations can deploy knowledge and adapt to the requisite skills in order to make fitting responses to the ever evolving technological and organizational transformations to address the prevailing construction challenges. Design/methodology/approach – The paper opted for abductive research approach which ensures back-and-forth iterative dialogue between the empirical data and an amalgam of the theoretical proposition towards new understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. Multiple case study method was adopted to collate the empirical data from three separate construction organisations as they transitioned into BIM compliant work processes. Findings – The study has described new processes that not only mediate existing practices, but focuses on consistently resolving known tensions and contradictions between prior knowledge and the requirement of the changing work situation. The study also illustrates the cognitive synchronisation of the learning approaches within contemporary work organisations that align well with the merits and utilities entrenched within their niche technological choices. Research limitations/implications – Due to the chosen research methodology, it is acknowledged that future comparative studies using a much larger quantitative data sample to further elucidate the findings of this paper would be an interesting further step. Originality/value – The study contributes to construction management literature by providing new insights into expansive learning environments capable of addressing cognitive contradictions and ambiguities inherent in the changing contemporary work patterns in the construction context as a consequence of BIM deployment.