The construction client as a change agent contextual support and obstacles

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to understand how the construction client can contribute to the development of the construction process. In this PhD project, literature reviews and three empirical studies were conducted in order to investigate the research questions and thereby fulfil the research purpose. In this thesis the theories regarding the role of a change agent and the role of a construction client are examined. Other fields that were reviewed are the context of the construction process, such as the briefing process. All these different theories and fields of literature are well suited for the analysis of the different aspects of the contextual situation for the construction client. The research presented in this thesis contributes to theory and practice in two main ways. 1) The theoretical conceptual model, describing the role of a construction client and the role of a change agent, adds knowledge to further understanding of the complexity of governing the construction process. 2) The empirical evidence shows that there are substantial obstacles for the construction client to address in order to become a change agent. The first two research questions deal with how the contextual situation influences the construction client's actions. The answer to this research question shows that the contextual situation does affect the construction client's possibility to act as a change agent. The third research question focuses on the extent to which the construction client can affect the construction process as a change agent. The possibilities are displayed and discussed from a general perspective and a more specific evaluation of the construction client's role is described. The role that the construction clients possess does support implementation of initiatives, but the implementation needs to be supported by a construction client function with competences on change processes.

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