My team and I have been awarded $218,082 from the National Science Foundation (SES-0823338) for a project called “Assessing Collaboration Across Organizational Boundaries in U.S. Green Construction: Does Working Together With New Information Technology Result In Better Buildings?” I will be serving as Principal Investigator.
Communication and collaboration across functional and organizational boundaries are among the hardest problems in management. Among other things, the media that are used to communicate significantly shape the substantive and social dimensions within which collaboration can happen, but we know little abut how to choose and use particular media. This research team will use comparative case studies and surveys to build and test theory about how new 3-D imaging affects communication and collaboration across organizational boundaries in the sustainable design and construction industry. The researchers have already completed initial field work and theory building. The NSF support will enable this inquiry to progress in three stages: a) a qualitative field assessment of collaboration during a large construction project in a major U.S. city, b) in-depth interviews with 50 industry leaders in order to develop quantitative measures for technology adoption and inter-firm collaboration, and c) analysis of an existing database of 100 construction projects certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED process. In addition to advancing theory-based understanding of technology-mediated collaboration, the project should have practical implications for those seeking to better manage collaborations and supply-chain communications in a number of manufacturing settings. In particular, the research team expects to offer practical insights for architects, engineers, and builders working on sustainable construction projects.