An action research approach to sharing specialist construction knowledge

Brian Graham, Declan Gahan, Ken Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years, a key growth area for Ireland's leading building contractor Sisk has been the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical devices sector. Much of the company's work in this area involves the construction of highly complex cleanroom facilities which are typically delivered through the management contracting route. This allows Sisk's knowledge and experience to be utilised in the early stages of design development, leading to time and cost savings for clients. Recognising the need to manage knowledge in a more formal manner within Sisk's Pharma division, an action research approach was adopted. Based on a collaborative approach between the researcher and the practitioner, action research is geared towards solving real problems and generating new knowledge. It involves a cyclical process whereby the application of findings and an evaluation of their impact on practice become part of a cycle of research. The first phase of the research involved developing a formal approach for sharing knowledge across projects within the Pharma division. This was achieved through a three-stage approach. Firstly each member of the Pharma division's management team was individually interviewed to identify key issues related to cleanroom construction, management contracting and knowledge management. Once the results were collated and analysed, a focus group session was conducted with a view to collectively sharing knowledge of cleanrooms between the interview participants. Finally, the focus group was evaluated through a questionnaire, seeking to assess the feasibility for future knowledge-sharing activities. It was concluded that such an approach to knowledge sharing has potential for greater use within the Pharma division and the wider Sisk organisation. A number of recommendations are made relating to the improved delivery of cleanroom projects and the next phase of the action research identified.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2008 - Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference
Pages289-298
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event24th Annual Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2008 - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 01 Sep 200803 Sep 2008

Publication series

NameAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2008 - Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference
Volume1

Conference

Conference24th Annual Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityCardiff
Period01/09/200803/09/2008

Keywords

  • Action research
  • Cleanrooms
  • Focus group
  • Knowledge management
  • Management contracting

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