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Ireland is changing and this change is nowhere more apparent than in the rapidly growing construction industry. The industry is being forced to change at an unprecedented pace. This thesis sets out to develop a framework on which construction organisations can approach and manage change.
It examines the issues that will cause change, reviews the available literature to find how change can be managed and controlled, and develops a model for guiding change programmes in the construction industry. The model is tested against three case studies, the first two of which are concerned with finding increases in efficiency and demonstrating how the changes necessary to bring about these efficiencies would be implemented. Data, gathered both by observation and by interviewing staff in three companies, was used to establish the means by which the current systems and processes worked. It also allowed the author to build up a clear picture of the working relationships of all of those in each system. In turn, this showed both where changes would be necessary and the effect such changes would have on the working relationships. A plan for change was then proposed in each case.
In the third case study the initial data, gathered by interview and surveys, again identified the original systems and the working relationships. A consultation process was set up to establish the extent of the changes necessary, the potential effects of the change were assessed and a plan of action was devised to ensure acceptance of the change. The change programme was then implemented and monitored through its first year of operation.
Change is difficult to achieve in the Irish construction industry as it is restricted by the structure of construction organisations (being project-driven rather than enterprise-driven) and by the proliferation of construction-related activities among governmental departments. However, the model for change proposed by this work was particularly effective in these circumstances, as it forced the author to fully analyse and constantly re-assess each interface with change.
In the course of the compilation of this thesis, it was found that the means by which change programmes are implemented are crucial to success. It is essential that the interfaces between tasks, processes and systems are fully analysed to determine the means by which the individual can become a supporter, rather than a potential opponent, of the change.
Gunnigan, L.: Management of Change in the Irish Construction Industry, thesis submitted to the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College, Dublin in fulfilment of the requirements of achieving an MSc by Research (1999)