An emerging grounded theory of knowledge management in the leading Irish construction organisations

Brian Graham, Ken Thomas

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


The need for a more formal approach to managing knowledge in construction is well recognised by both academia and industry. Despite this a gap exists between the theory and practice of knowledge management requiring further development and testing of models with industry. The study of knowledge within an organisational setting is complex and fraught with many difficulties requiring careful consideration of ontological and epistemological issues. The grounded theory methodology has become popular in conducting management research, although its integrity has been questioned due to divisions between its originators and loose adoption by some researchers. Therefore novice researchers need to clearly state the grounded theory school to which they subscribe, and remain true to the procedures throughout. Using Strauss and Corbin's version of grounded theory, this paper presents emerging categories from interviews with ten senior managers from the leading Irish construction organisations. This forms the first phase of a doctoral study which aims to develop a knowledge management model for these organisations. Initial findings suggest that the need for knowledge management is well recognised by industry although uncertainty exists about how to implement such an initiative. Some of the emerging categories include: continuing professional development, supportive learning environment, other organisational initiatives and the realities of the business. While this research is very much a work in progress, the rationale for selecting grounded theory and the challenges faced in using such an approach will be reflected on from the perspective of a novice researcher. Consideration will be given to the practical application of grounded theory such as selection of participants, data collection, coding, memoing and the use of specialist software. The next phase of the research shall also be discussed with reference to theoretical sampling and the further development of a model of knowledge management.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2008
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2008 - Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 04 Sep 200805 Sep 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM
ISSN (Print)2048-8963
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8971


Conference9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Construction organisations
  • Constructivism
  • Grounded theory
  • Ireland
  • Research methodology


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