Construction Industry Management Practices and Innovation in Small and Medium Enterprises
An Exploratory Qualitative Study
Blessing Okere PhD
The construction industry is a versatile sector that requires the effort of managers to engage in practices that create innovation. Management practices are the skills, knowledge, resources, and culture needed to attain successful innovation. Regardless of the importance of management practices, an established management practice that demonstrates how managers’ practices might boost innovation is limited. A review of literature associated with management practices and innovation in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction industry led to the determination that a gap exists in the body of work about construction industry management practices and innovation in SMEs. The exploratory qualitative study investigated the research question: What roles do management practices have in innovation in U.S. SMEs in the construction industry? Study participants were 12 middle managers employed in small- and medium-sized construction organizations with three or more years of experience. Data analysis identified two themes. First, improving project management had three subthemes of sharing information, bringing new ideas, and efficient project management. The improving competitive performance theme had three subthemes of effective delivery of service, knowledge exchange and collaboration, and effective leadership, categorized as management practices. The interpretation of themes and subthemes provided enough information to determine that management practices and innovation in U.S. SME construction companies involved improving project management and improving competitive performance. The study results could be used to improve innovation capabilities in SMEs in the construction industry through the improvement of knowledge sharing practices, internally and externally.