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Bartley E A (2013) Assessing the potential application of online social networks for the construction industry . In: Smith, S D and Ahiaga-Dagbui, D D (Eds.), Proceedings 29th Annual ARCOM Conference, 2-4 September 2013, Reading, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 589–598.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: communication, information technology, knowledge network, project collaboration, social network
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-7-6
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2013-0589-0598_Bartley.pdf
The construction industry is said to be slow in adopting new information technologies into their processes. It is also said to be fragmented due to the project based nature of the industry. There is a need therefore for an ICT solution that satisfies both of these constraints. The potential application of social networks to the construction industry has thus far been largely unexplored. The research focuses in on this area by questioning the current understanding of the technology within the sector, the current level of collaboration, the requirements of the industry to fostering greater efficiencies and concept areas beyond collaboration associated with online social networks. The research carried out establishes the level of understanding of social networks and their predecessor technologies. The research also establishes a number of existing concepts. Interviews were conducted both with industry professionals and an industry specialist online social network provider and builds upon these findings extending them into newer concepts beyond collaboration, thus highlighting areas where greater efficiencies can be made by the industry through their implementation. Through habitual and structured use it leads to the naturalisation of knowledge management, virtual teams through remote participation, and social intelligence. The research identifies a natural progression of the online social network to higher levels of conceptualised use leading to enterprise social networks and social knowledge networks. The construction online social network will allow the construction contractor to defragment the fragmented, to empower its employees, to become more efficient both in the field and off while simultaneously naturally building a knowledge base which becomes a source of revenue through its continued and structured use.