20.10.08

IBS: Critical Succes Factors 5

Leadership & Organisation Structure

Leadership - Leadership is just as important as having good management. Modern leadership goes beyond getting people to do what the leader wants them to do. It is now more related on value, motivation and managing 'soft skills' in human perception. In that sense, both institutional leadership and personal leadership are important to IBS adoption as IBS is not entirely a premier practice but in fact innovation and alternative solution to existing practice. Based on the study by Nam & Tatum (1997), they discovered that effective leadership is essential for technological innovation particularly in construction industry. Therefore, a strong leadership is important in order to convince the decision makers, customers, clients and own organisational hirarcy on the lead in the use of innovative technology such as IBS. In strategic point of view, institutional and personel leadership with high level of technical competence will ensure prudent risk taking (Bleyse & Manley, 2004) and therefore ensure the contractor firm will sustain in a competative market of construction industry.

Organisation Structure - Institutional leadership is strong related to organisation culture and practice. While IBS as been seen as an alternative method and innovation in the construction industry, the organizational rigidity is always mentioned as a barrier to innovation adoption in construction organisation (Nam & Tatum, 1997). Barriers and resistancy to innovation in organisation are most likely to be vertical (heiracical) (Quinn, 1985) or horizontal (inter department) (Putnam, 1985). Winch (2000) has suggested that the allocation of hierarchical roles has important consequences for innovation. Comparing the nature of hierarchies in French and British construction firms (as evidenced by the firms involved in construction of the Channel Tunnel), Winch concludes that the French ‘model’ of management is conducive to a greater level of innovation than is the British model. This was because French construction managers were given greater autonomy and had wider, more flexible role definitions than their British counterparts. Therefore, successful IBS implementation which include heavy transformation into innovation process depends on organisation structure that are positive to innovation and favourable to IBS adoptation (Pan et. al, 2008). It make sense that every IBS contractors will required a specialist director or manager within the company who is responsible for applying the technology, coordinating the process and promoting innovation within the organisation. In other perspective of the IBS project, an organised management is vital in order to adopt manufacturing principal to the construction process (Faizul, 2006). As such, the concept of lean construction, concurent engineering, value engineering and just in time coccept can be apply effectively and successfully with strong organisation coordination. A favourable organisation structure to support innovation adoption is also related to having a culture of continues learning (Pan et al. 2008). This is echoed by the claim from Van de Ven (1986) earlier, that organisation learning are in the heart of managing any innovation at any organisation set-up. Intangible organisational attributes that are likely to be conducive to innovation include a culture of collaboration in which people are able to question ways of working without fear of penalty if they are unsuccessful and a shared perception that participants are all striving to achieve a greater understanding of each other’s goals (Barlow, 2000). There are also a needs to introduce explicit recognition that learning requires openness to new ideas and ongoing dialogue (Love et al. 2002). One of the new concept is to encourage the contractors oraganisation working in multidisplinary environment. Companies can take part by creating an open and modern working environment without strictly separated departments, leading to reduction of time and costs and a much higher level of creativity and innovation (Bock et al, 2007). To summerise all arguments, an organisation structure which is more open and supportive to innovation will has more tendency to be succeesful in adopting new construction solution and modern method of construction and more likely to be an organisation that are favourable to IBS implementation.

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