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Social Network Analysis in Construction

Social Network Analysis in Construction

Stephen Pryke

ISBN: 978-1-118-44313-2 May 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 288 Pages


The objective of the book is to make accessible the ways in which social network analysis (SNA) may be used to observe, monitor and analyse systems and relationships in major construction project coalitions.  Although this has been an established analytical technique in the US for some time, it is only now being developed in the UK.

Having spent nearly two decades investigating major project relationships using SNA, the author has brought together mathematical and sociological methods, and major project relationships in a manner that will inspire both academic interest and a desire to apply these concepts and techniques to live construction projects. Case studies include projects from two of the UKs largest property developers, the UK Ministry of Defence and a County Council.

SNA is innovative - but potentially inaccessible to project management analysts and practitioners. This book will provide clear and relevant explanation and illustration of the possibilities of using SNA in a major project environment.

In addition to offering the potential; for sophisticated retrospective analysis of a wide range of systems associated with construction and engineering project coalitions, the author looks at how we might apply the network analysis findings to the design and management of project and supply chain networks.

About the author ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Understanding the construction sector 1

Structure of the book 5

Summary 8

Chapter 2 Rationale for a network approach to the analysis of project management systems 10

Introduction 10

Review of approaches to the analysis of procurement and management systems 10

Presentation of analysis and implementation of recommendations 11

A social network analysis approach to the analysis and visualisation of organisational forms 30

Summary 33

Chapter 3 Twenty-first century reform and emergent systems in construction 36

Introduction 36

Collaborative relationships: partnering, strategic alliances, framework agreements 37

Supply chain management 47

Network clusters 57

Integrating systems and linkages 60

Summary 61

Chapter 4 The construction project as a system of interdependent governance networks 63

Introduction 63

Institutional economics and the governance of transactions 63

A model for analysis 67

Social network analysis in the study of reforms in procurement and management systems within the construction industry 70

Some fundamental concepts in social network analysis 70

Previous applications of SNA to the construction industry 72

SNA and its application to the analysis of UK construction networks 73

Propositions 75

Summary 76

Chapter 5 Social network analysis as a research method 77

Definition 78

Origins and history 79

Why choose social network analysis? 81

Problems associated with the use of SNAin construction research 83

Concepts and terminology 84

Defining the population for the study 94

Finally on SNA theory and techniques 95

Software for the analysis of networks 96

Getting started in social network analysis 97

Conclusion 99

Chapter 6 Network case studies 101

Criteria for the selection of case studies 103

Essex project: traditional procurement, public sector – records office 104

Uxbridge project: traditional procurement, private sector – commercial office building 111

Aldershot project: collaborative procurement, public sector – sports facilities and office accommodation 123

Slough project: collaborative procurement, private sector – commercial office building 129

Summary of the case study selection criteria 139

Chapter 7 Interpreting the network diagrams for the case studies 140

Essex project: non-collaborative public sector procurement 140

Uxbridge project: non-collaborative private sector procurement 150

Aldershot project: collaborative public sector procurement 160

Slough project: collaborative private sector procurement 167

Final thoughts 177

Chapter 8 Data analysis for the case studies 179

Mathematical analysis of network data 179

Networks of contractual relationships 180

Cost monitoring and control networks 185

Instruction networks 191

Progress monitoring networks 195

Performance incentives networks 197

Design development communication networks 199

Summary 201

Conclusions: using SNA to classify team roles in different procurement systems 202

Final thoughts 211

Chapter 9 Managing networks 213

Introduction 213

How did we understand and manage our organisations before SNA? 215

Managing networks 217

The key points in managing networks 236

Final thoughts 238

Chapter 10 Summary, conclusions and final thoughts 239

Summary 239

Conclusion 244

Final thoughts 245

Appendix: SNA questionnaire 247

References 252

Index 265