Relationship Network Structure and Organizational Competitiveness: Evidence from BIM Implementation Practices in the Construction Industry

Dongping Cao, Heng Li, Guangbin Wang, Xiaochun Luo, Dan Tan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Using the structural social capital perspective and a longitudinal data set on building information modeling (BIM) implementation practices in the construction industry in Shanghai, China, from 2007 to 2015, this study explores how the structural characteristics of the project-based interfirm collaboration networks within which design and construction organizations are embedded relate to their long-term organizational competitiveness. Hierarchical regression results provide evidence that after controlling for related organizational characteristics (including organizational experience in participating in large and influential projects, organizational ownership type, organization age, and organization size), degree and eigenvector centrality in relationship networks in an earlier period as a group significantly predicts organizational success in winning new project contracts in a later period. The results also provide evidence that due to their differences in BIM capability and innovation reputation, the competitiveness of designers and general contractors relate differently to the structure of their project-based interfirm relationship networks, with the competitiveness of designers more associated with the quantity of collaborative ties, whereas the competitiveness of general contractors relates more to the collaborative ties with high-status partners. As an exploratory effort at using longitudinal data to investigate the associations between interfirm relationship network structure and organizational competitiveness in the construction industry, this study contributes to the construction literature not only by validating the value of project-based interfirm relationships in generating social capital and thus relating to organizational competitiveness, but also by providing evidence for how the specific association between project-based relationship network structure and organizational competitiveness is contingent on the attributes of the network actors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04018005
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Building information modeling (BIM)
  • Chinese construction industry
  • Organizational competitiveness
  • Project-based organizations
  • Social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Engineering(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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