Practitioner understanding of value in the UK Building Sector
journal contributionposted on 18.02.2013, 10:17 by Derek Thomson, Simon Austin, Grant R. Mills, Hannah Devine-Wright
Purpose: For over a decade, UK public sector construction policy and industry rhetoric has advanced a value agenda that advocates the development of project-specific understanding of value. This study examines construction practitioners’ collective cognition of value to determine how their facilitation may bias this intent. A value continuum is contributed. Design/methodology/approach: Critique of the Design Quality Indicator (the primary value agenda instrument) finds that it overemphasises objective value, confirming the need for practitioners to help stakeholders develop broader understanding of value. The freelisting technique of cultural anthropology is used to model practitioners’ collective cognition of value and, thus, their bias over this process. The standard freelisting protocol is followed. Findings: Practitioners’ collective understanding is found to comprise related concepts that resolve to a one dimensional ‘value continuum’ with subjective and objective terminals and which fully embodies value agenda intent. In contrast, the concepts articulated by the Design Quality Indicator are biased towards the objective value continuum terminal, confirming the need for practitioners to facilitate stakeholder exploration of the full continuum if the value agenda is to be fully addressed. Research limitations/implications: The value continuum only reflects the views of a small but typical sample of construction practitioners. Further work must characterise model completeness and consistency through the supply chain. Originality/value: This is the first work to derive an empirical model of construction practitioners’ collective understanding of value. It achieves this by the novel linking of a cognitive modelling technique from cultural anthropology with an emic interpretation of the results.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering