Engineering project networks: providing “sustainable work systems” for construction knowledge workers

M. Reza Hosseini, David John Edwards, Tandeep Singh, Igor Martek, Amos Darko

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The construction industry faces three emergent developments that in all likelihood will transform the industry into the future. First, engineering project networks (EPNs), in which teams collaborate on projects remotely in time and space, are transforming global construction practices. Second, as a major consumer of resources and significant producer of green-house gases, construction is under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. Third, the construction industry presents as one of the least socially sustainable work environments, with high job dissatisfaction, skewed work–life balance and over representation of depressive and mental disorders. It is incumbent on the industry to reconcile these issues. Specifically, what scope is there to shape the evolution of EPNs towards a configuration that both promotes sustainability generally, and enhances quality of work-life issues, while at the same time continuing to apprehend the economic dividends for which it is adopted? As salient as this question is, it has not been broached in the literature. Therefore, this study aims to survey the extent to which EPNs align with the sustainability agenda, more broadly, and that of employee work-place satisfaction, more specifically. Design/methodology/approach: A literature review of current knowledge of these concerns is explored and a summative assessment presented. Findings: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, as the first in its kind, the study brings to light that EPNs go a long way towards facilitating economic objectives, part way towards realising ecological and sociological objectives but make hardly any impact on improving employee work satisfaction. Originality/value: This paper examines an entirely novel area that has not been studied yet. Future research should take up this finding to determine how EPNs may be further adapted to accommodate these wider necessary objectives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Engineering project networks
  • Offshore outsourcing
  • Remote working
  • Sustainability
  • Virtual teams
  • Working unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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