chapter  16
22 Pages

The culture of the construction industry: Emergence, recognition and nature?


Abstract In the period 1994-2001, several countries have produced studies of their construction industries with a view to further development.1 Almost all of these have identified the need for the industry culture to change. The nature of culture within construction projects and construction firms has been the subject of study with growing interest, especially since the CIB Task Group 23 was set up in 1996.2 Yet, surprisingly, industry culture, as distinct from construction project culture or construction company culture, is something which has hitherto been neglected both in terms of conceptualising it and in terms of empirical study. Almost all the research on culture in the construction industry relates to project and company culture, even though the term industry culture is frequently used in those same studies. Thus the boundary lines between these separate concepts are blurred. Such fuzziness is not surprising, as we realise that the people who work in construction companies and the projects they engage in do share common experiences within the construction business environment. Yet, as this chapter will argue, this environment possesses its own distinct nature in cultural terms. People who belong to the construction industry, whether they are employed, selfemployed, unemployed, or under education and training, may share the same cultural characteristics.