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Institutional complexity in Swedish built environment regulation: exploring the interface with industrialized house-building
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Industrilized and sustainable construction.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8352-2343
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The industrialized house-building movement has emerged as aresponse to recurring criticism of the construction sector. It seeks toemulate management practices prevalent in manufacturing industries,including the use of standardized work processes and building systems.This approach does, however, make industrialized house-buildingcontractors susceptible to unpredictable variations. Swedish localplanning authorities have a legal and democratic mandate to regulatethe built environment within its borders and views variations betweendifferent municipalities as a desirable consequence of a functional localdemocratic system. Meanwhile, industrialized house-buildingcontractors have highlighted variations in regulation of the builtenvironment as obstructive to their intended methods of managing thebuilding process. The aim of this thesis is to increase understanding ofhow local planning authorities make interpretations when regulatingthe built environment and how those interpretations influenceindustrialized house-building contractors and to, within the ongoingresearch process, identify theoretical perspectives suitable for describingtensions in the interface between industrialized house-building andlocal planning authorities. The theoretical frame of reference for thisthesis consists of two major streams of organizational literature:organizational coordination, operationalized though the concept ofcoordination mechanisms, and neo-institutional theory, operationalizedthrough institutional logics and institutional complexity. Theoverarching research strategy is best described as a case study approachinvestigating cases of institutional complexity in regulation of theSwedish built environment. The design consists of one multi-casestudy relying on interviews with representatives of industrializedhouse-building contractors and local planning authorities and onesingle-case study investigating a longitudinal land development processusing a combination of interviews, direct observations and documentanalysis. Findings indicate that local planning authorities faceinstitutional complexity stemming from three semi-compatibleinstitutional logics that each prescribe different roles for planningpractitioners and expectations for their behaviour. As some planningpractitioners are more attuned to particular logics than others, it is difficult to predict, for each given situation, which logic will beactivated. Furthermore, findings indicate that institutional logics can beviewed as coordination mechanisms, thereby highlighting afundamental tension between the coordination preferences ofindustrialized house-building contractors and local planning authorities.This tension causes a lack of accountability, predictability and commonunderstanding resulting in an inability for industrialized house-buildingcontractors and local planning authorities to coordinate theircontributions in the planning and building process. The findings implythat industrialized house-building contractors and local planningauthorities should attempt to acknowledge each other’s participation inand contributions to the planning and building process. The findingsalso highlight the importance of interpretations for regulation of thebuilt environment, which implies that not all sector-wide problems canor need be solved through legislative action.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2017.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Timber Structures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66215ISBN: 978-91-7583-992-9 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-993-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-66215DiVA, id: diva2:1151209
Public defence
2017-12-18, F1031, Laboratorievägen 16, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-10-24 Created: 2017-10-23 Last updated: 2017-11-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring industrialised housebuilders' interpretations of local requirement setting using institutional logics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring industrialised housebuilders' interpretations of local requirement setting using institutional logics
2015 (English)In: Construction Management and Economics, ISSN 0144-6193, E-ISSN 1466-433X, Vol. 33, no 5-6, p. 484-494Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Industrialized housebuilding contractors use standardized processes and building systems to improve time and cost efficiency. Recent governmental investigations argue that Swedish local planning authorities’ requirement setting practices stifle the potential for increased industrialization. Yet, no previous research has accounted for the industrialized housebuilders’ perspective. We aim to explore industrialized housebuilders’ interpretationsof local requirement setting, using institutional logics to increase the understanding of how structure and human agency influence the emergence of local requirements. Interviews were conducted with representatives of fiveindustrialized housebuilders who together span the Swedish multi-family housing market. Findings indicate that industrialized housebuilders do not perceive intentional local requirement setting as problematic, yet struggle tocope with interpretive local requirement setting. Findings also necessitate distinguishing local requirement setting in the exercise of public authority from local requirement setting in public procurement. The agency structure dualism contributes an understanding of interpretive local requirement setting in the exercise of public authority as an expression of agency and of local requirement setting in public procurement as one of structure. Furthermore, using an institutional logics approach is found to provide an accentuation of human agency and the individual level of analysis that is often absent from construction management research.

National Category
Building Technologies
Research subject
Timber Structures; Attractive built environment (AERI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-27715 (URN)10.1080/01446193.2015.1050966 (DOI)84941805590 (Scopus ID)13f5646c-252c-437e-a289-6192170617d8 (Local ID)13f5646c-252c-437e-a289-6192170617d8 (Archive number)13f5646c-252c-437e-a289-6192170617d8 (OAI)
Note
Validerad; 2015; Nivå 1; 20150511 (vindak); Konferensartikel i tidskriftAvailable from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
2. Exploring Swedish local planning authorities' perceptions of standardized housing construction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Swedish local planning authorities' perceptions of standardized housing construction
2015 (English)In: Procs 31st Annual ARCOM Conference: 7-9 September 2015, Lincoln, UK / [ed] Ani Raidén; Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2015, Vol. 2, p. 1053-1062Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We explore how Swedish Local Planning Authorities perceive standardized housing construction and attempt to use an ideal type typology of institutional logics to describe how Local Planning Authorities make use of the multiple institutional logics available to them. Increased standardization in Swedish housing construction has been suggested as a means to meet the growing need for housing with reasonable rent levels. However, housing contractors that use standardization and repetition of processes and components claim that the variation of requirements set by Local Planning Authorities prevents them from taking full advantage of their standardization. A recent empirical study of standardized housing contractors’ perceptions suggests that Local Requirement Setting, the requirement setting practices of Local Planning Authorities, are interpretational responses to a lack of familiarity with standardized housing construction. Yet, Local Planning Authorities’ perceptions of standardized housing construction have never previously been explored. Empirical material for this on-going study was collected through in-depth exploratory interviews with local planning officers from three municipalities situated in Swedish population growth regions. Findings suggest that Local Planning Authorities perceive potential benefits with standardization, but ultimately expect standardized housing concepts to adapt to local standards for processes and products. In projects with high ambitions for architectural quality standardized housing concepts need to be highly flexible. Conversely, highly standardized housing concepts benefit from project ambitions that favour reasonable rent levels. Therefore, Local Requirement Setting is indicative of a mismatch between the Local Planning Authority’s project ambitions and the standardized housing contractor’s degree of product standardization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 2015
National Category
Building Technologies
Research subject
Timber Structures
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-26868 (URN)2-s2.0-84985994812 (Scopus ID)0201108c-de56-47e5-aadf-a77a60becd54 (Local ID)978-0-9552390-9-0 (ISBN)0201108c-de56-47e5-aadf-a77a60becd54 (Archive number)0201108c-de56-47e5-aadf-a77a60becd54 (OAI)
Conference
Annual ARCOM Conference : 07/09/2015 - 09/09/2015
Note

Godkänd; 2015; Bibliografisk uppgift: Emerald Research methodology Award; 20150910 (vindak)

Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2017-11-25Bibliographically approved
3. Using coordination mechanisms to explore tension between industrialized house-building contractors and local planning authorities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using coordination mechanisms to explore tension between industrialized house-building contractors and local planning authorities
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Construction Management Business Administration
Research subject
Timber Structures
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66212 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-23 Created: 2017-10-23 Last updated: 2017-11-09
4. Institutional complexity and the role of planning practitioners: findings from a Swedish development process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Institutional complexity and the role of planning practitioners: findings from a Swedish development process
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Keyword
built environment, ideal type, institutional complexity, institutional logics, planning theory and practice
National Category
Business Administration Public Administration Studies
Research subject
Timber Structures
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66214 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-23 Created: 2017-10-23 Last updated: 2017-11-13

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