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The case for slack to promote innovative behaviour in construction organisations

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conference contribution
posted on 21.09.2012, 09:00 by Christopher Horsthuis, Derek ThomsonDerek Thomson, Scott FernieScott Fernie
The ability and willingness of individuals is a prerequisite to innovation. These traits are not unique to innovation in construction, but are universal amongst all innovative firms. Innovative behaviours depend on organisational resources and their deployment via managerial action. Organisational slack is forwarded as an enabler of innovation, as it makes a pool of unallocated resources available to connect ability to innovate and willingness to innovate. The authors posit that researchers and practitioners alike have failed to appreciate this enabler of innovative behaviour causing the principles of slack to be improperly overlooked. The case for slack resource allocation as a precursor to innovation is developed and the need to survey the attitudes towards slack organisational management held by construction organisations established. Institutionalism is identified as an analytical framework capable of explaining the interactions within the firm that differentiate between innovative and non-innovative construction organisations. A theoretical model of the role played by slack resource availability in stimulating innovative behaviours is developed for validation by a subsequent fieldwork programme.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


HORSTHUIS, C., THOMSON, D.S. and FERNIE, S., 2012. The case for slack to promote innovative behaviour in construction organisations. IN: Proceedings of the 28th Annual ARCOM Conference, Edinburgh, 3 - 5 September 2012, 10pp.


Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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