ITcon Vol. 14, pg. 353-365,

A process view on end-user resistance during construction IT implementations

published:June 2009
editor(s):Kazi A S, Aouad G, Baldwin A
authors:T. Hartmann, Assistant Professor
Department of Construction Management and Engineering, University Twente

M.Fischer, Professor
Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University
summary:Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) researchers have characterised user resistance as one of the major barriers to the widespread diffusion of VDC technologies. These researchers have mainly argued that resistance is a dysfunctional characteristic of change recipients that hinders successful change. Contrary to this conceptualization, many change management researchers see resistance as important and necessary attribute of individuals during any change process, be it successful or unsuccessful. These researchers suggest reconceptualising user resistance from a negative individual psychological characteristic of users to an important function of the change process itself. This paper argues that such a process conceptualization of user resistance is more valuable to understand change processes during the implementation of Construction IT than the conceptualisation of resistance as individual user characteristic. The paper shows the value of the process conceptualization by analyzing ethnographic interviews with change recipients from two construction projects. In line with the proposed re-conceptualisation, the analysis of the interviews from a process perspective suggests that user-resistance is not always a negative barrier, but oftentimes a necessary and important part of a Construction IT implementation. The interviews show that resistance can lead to an ongoing discourse about the technology between change agents and change recipients which is an important antecedent of a successful implementation. The paper, therefore, suggests that Construction IT change agents start involving resistant Construction IT recipients within an ongoing discussion that focuses on the immediate benefits the technologies offer to improve the day to day work processes of AEC professionals.
keywords:Technology, Implementation, User resistance, Preventive innovations, Virtual Design and Construction
full text: (PDF file, 0.385 MB)
citation:Hartmann T, Fischer M (2009). A process view on end-user resistance during construction IT implementations, ITcon Vol. 14, Special issue Next Generation Construction IT: Technology Foresight, Future Studies, Roadmapping, and Scenario Planning, pg. 353-365,