Change Triggers in Early Innovation Stages: How Technology Pilots Enable Routine Reflection

Ramon ter Huurne*, Léon Olde Scholtenhuis, André Dorée

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many scholars have denounced innovation in construction as problematic. Existing work processes and routines may resist or even block the adoption of new technologies. Unravelling how new technology interferes with organizational processes could facilitate a more mindful innovation process. This study, therefore, conceptualizes how technology pilots influence early change of existing practices. Five utility localization projects were studied, in which ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology was introduced. The researchers observed existing practices onsite, demonstrated and moderated the use of GPR, and conducted semistructured reflective interviews. Based on the concept of routine dynamics, selective and axial coding resulted in the identification of two types of mechanisms: (1) change triggers occurred when routines fell short and practitioners started favoring the GPR, and (2) stabilization occurred when routines proceeded as expected and shielded GPR from being considered. Objecting linear innovation adoption, the findings contribute an empirical conceptual model of early-stage innovation adoption dynamics. This model aids decision makers in timely identifying (1) whether routines are receptive to the uptake of new technologies, and (2) how new technologies may advance these routines. Additionally, this study demonstrates the merit of using practice-based studies to conceptualize in rich detail how innovation processes are shaped in situated construction contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number05022005
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of construction engineering and management
Issue number9
Early online date4 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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