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Ankrah, N A and Proverbs, D (2004) Treading the softer areas of construction management: a critical review of culture. In: Khosrowshahi, F (Ed.), Proceedings 20th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September 2004, Edinburgh, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 1, 551–8.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: construction industry; culture; organisational culture
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0 9534161 9 4
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2004-0551-0558_Ankrah_and_Proverbs.pdf
  • Abstract:
    Culture has to a large extent been utilised as the 'black box' reason for many of the construction industry ills, with many parties, through reports and other means, calling for a 'cultural change' in the industry. Fundamental to such change is the need to fully investigate and understand the manifestations and effects of culture in the industry. However, relatively little, by way of research, has been done in this area due mainly to the generally recognised complexity of the subject and its 'soft' and subjective nature. As a prelude to an investigation into the impact of organisational culture on the performance of UK contractors in furtherance of research in this genre, this study presents an overview of culture and a critique of current research into culture in the construction industry. The common theme from the review is that culture comprises the practices peculiar to a group and the underlying values shaping them. Within construction, culture is perceived as comprising the characteristics of the industry, approaches to construction, competence of craftsmen and people who work in the industry, and the goals, values and strategies of the organisations they work in. A few studies within the construction domain have touched on national, industry, organisational and occupational culture, highlighting such critical issues as antagonism and international cultural diversity and their potential impact on the practices and output of the industry, and this provides evidence of a growing awareness of the importance of culture in the overall performance improvement agenda of the industry.