chapter  1
23 Pages

People and culture in construction: Contexts and challenges


Recently, there appears to have been an acknowledgement that the way in which people are managed and developed is limiting the industry’s ability to improve its performance. As such, the industry has been challenged to address its poor performance on people management and cultural issues. Unfortunately, the accepted improvement agenda too often abounds with simplistic exhortations that the construction industry must ‘change its culture’. Indeed, as will be examined later in this chapter, the discourse of culture change within the industry appears

strangely disconnected from the broader defining literature. This book begins to address this failing by presenting a broad range of critical and empirical insights on construction employment and culture within a single volume. Although eclectic in terms of their coverage and philosophical standpoints with regard to industry practice, together they offer a set of different lenses through which the current failings of the industry can be examined critically. The authors, who are all prominent researchers within their respective fields, share a common approach in that they all aim to be critical but pragmatic. Rather than seek simple normative performance-enhancing solutions to ingrained problems, they explore the implications of the industry’s approaches for both research and practice. By locating salient issues within a wider theoretical framework, they provide the reader with a set of thought-provoking perspectives on the challenges confronting the construction sector and how they might be viewed differently in the future.