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Chan, P W (2020) Construction in the Platform Society: New Directions for Construction Management Research. In: Scott, L and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 36th Annual ARCOM Conference, 7-8 September 2020, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 396-405.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: disruptive innovation, Industry 4.0, platforms, review, systems integration
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-3-2
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/6f5fc39abb36c4a040b3815759c8a776.pdf
  • Abstract:

    In recent times, digital transformation has become the order of the day with some sectors such as healthcare, financial services and advanced manufacturing introducing disruptive technologies and seeing the entry of new players.  These developments are also resulting in the emergence of new-normal practices, with a key nascent aspect relating to the rise of digital platforms.  With commonly-known examples such as Uber and Airbnb, platforms and platforms-based organising can have profound effects on altering arrangements between demand-side and supply-side actors.  Even in the construction sector where institutional reports globally have indicated that digital transformation is lagging behind, the sector is also seeing the development of platforms, including e.g. Katerra, Wikihouse, Google’s Sidewalks Lab and Skanska/Ikea’s BokLok. To date, the emergence of platforms in the construction sector has largely centred around narrow performance indicators of productivity and profitability.  In this quest of finding cheaper and faster ways of constructing the built environment, the discussion of platforms in construction has however ignored broader societal and strategic issues that have featured more prominently in the field of management and organisational studies.  In this position paper, the purpose is to examine how platforms and platforms-based organising have been analysed in fields outside of construction management research to identify fresh interesting questions that can help frame future directions for construction management research (and practice). The analysis that informs the future directions argued in this position paper is guided by the seminal work done by José van Dijck and colleagues on devising the analytical framework for the 'The Platform Society' (Oxford University Press, 2018).  This framework lays open questions around the mechanisms of dataficiation, commodification and commercialisation, and strategic selection to highlight the disruptive implications, for the construction sector, that platforms can have in the ongoing integration of supply and demand.