Termination of editorship

This is my 25th year at the helm of the journal, Construction Management and Economics. I have enjoyed being at the centre of this and especially enjoyed interacting with so many people in our academic community; authors, referees, editorial board and publishers. There is a huge amount of support among the construction management community for this journal. Long may it continue!

However, nothing is forever. My contract as Editor-in-Chief has come to an end. Taylor & Francis, the publishers of Construction Management and Economics, have started the search for a new Editor-in-Chief. We are hoping that the new person will soon be identified and that the transition can be effected soon. Whatever happens, this is my last year in the post.

I look forward to new challenges and opportunities!

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Special issue on social networks in construction


In order to manage project complexity and uncertainty, traditional project management literature has placed great emphasis on technical issues such as planning, scheduling, risk analysis and project management techniques, however, there is growing recognition of ‘self-organized’ and relational forms of governance in projects. Increasingly, contemporary management scholars are viewing the project coalition as a temporary (social) network involving a group of interdependent actors who interact and collaborate towards the delivery of the project objectives (Dubois and Gadde, 2000). These interactions often take place through non-contractual, multi-functional and self-organizing networks of individuals, organizations and supply chain actors temporarily brought together through project-related common tasks with flows of materials, information and financial resources.

Network theory (in a broad sense) is a dominant theoretical paradigm in management research and has contributed new insight to management culture and practice in various areas such as facilitating knowledge circulation and creation, improving firms’ governance, boosting individual careers; facilitating the success of entrepreneurial ventures and composing and managing teams. It offers a powerful analytical tool for capturing, analysing and visualising complex construction projects and their interacting individuals and organizations.

Having said that, studies adopting a network-analytical perspective remain scarce in the construction management domain (Hossain and Wu, 2009; Kratzer et al., 2010) compared to other management disciplines (Balkundi and Harrison, 2006). Therefore, the intention of this special issue is to continue the dialogue between the two fields of network theory and construction management with the aim of stimulating theory development and providing empirical insight on building effective project and supply chain networks.

Social networks in construction provide the overarching theme and empirical phenomena for this special issue and the context is effective project delivery. Network theory (including several perspectives such as social network approach, actor-network theory, industrial network approach, strategic networks, etc.) offer opportunities to develop and challenge many of the prevailing thinking related to projects and construction:

  • A social network approach enables better understanding of the role and the importance of informal social structures that operate “behind the chart” in organizational contexts. The use of social network analysis (SNA) can reveal the formal and informal organisational structures and the communication patterns in projects.
  • A social network approach enables better understanding of the role and the importance of informal social structures that operate “behind the chart” in organizational contexts. The use of social network analysis can reveal the formal and informal organisational structures and the communication patterns in projects.
  • Collaboration often takes place through networks of informal relations rather than channels strictly dictated by formal contractual agreements or reporting structures.
  • Dyadic contractual relationships established at tender stages makes an incomplete contribution to effective project delivery, particularly in complex projects. The social network structure can have a significant influence on substantive outcome and performance in construction projects.
  • The transition from mobilised resources to successful project delivery teams dedicated to project function delivery is a complex transition.

Contributions are also invited that examine how the construction context can afford new insights into network theories. The complex project environment prevailing in construction provides the opportunity to study spatio-temporal effects in network topographical terms. Applications might include spatio-temporal studies relating to risk, the effective application of resources, and issues of coordination in design and project delivery. Temporal heterogeneity in construction projects and project event choreography have important spatio-temporal aspects that have yet to be explored but which have considerable potential through the application of SNA.

The work of Clegg and his colleagues (2006) on the agentic nature of networks has underlined the association between the organization of social relations in social networks and the implications for individual agency, with power conceived as the outcome of the organization of social relations. Agents are seen to retain power in so far as they are relationally constituted to do so. This raises questions as to what relational elements of social networks (e.g. relations of meaning and relations of production) are constituent of power in construction projects? How do these, or other elements, come together to create a ‘relational field of force’? What are broader power implications at social network levels? What is the empirical evidence for this? What are the implications for value creation and innovation, for example?

At the applied level, the relevance of network theory to construction management practice needs to be clearly articulated. Indeed, much of the recent literature on networks in the construction management literature fails to unpack the associated managerial and policy implications of taking a network-theoretic lens to the built environment and its transient intra and extra-project relationships. This Special Issue present opportunity to do so in the construction context.

A network view of projects provides the distinct focus for this Special Issue allowing authors a broad remit within this area. The proposed topics for substantive inclusion in the Special Issue could link social network concepts to issues and theories found in the construction management literature. Issues that contributors may wish to cover can include (but are not confined to):

  1. Knowledge, Learning and Innovation in Networks
  2. Social capital, Embeddedness and Influence in Networks
  3. Marketing and Business Development Networks.
  4. Networks and sustainable development in Construction.
  5. A social network approach to understanding stakeholders and their inter-relationships in projects.
  6. Networks of Risk Transfer and Value Creation.
  7. Organisation and Coordination Issues.
  8. Trading and Buyer-Seller Networks in Construction
  9. Game Theory, Asymmetric Information, Bargaining and Power in Networks
  10. Negative Relationships in Networks
  11. Network Evolution

Number of papers and types of contribution

The editors are seeking 12-18 papers for this Special Issue. The number accepted will be tempered to ensure high quality. Contributions may be papers, notes, letters, book reviews or obituaries, in order to provide a balanced and complete issue of the journal. As a guide we are seeking:

  • 1 Editorial
  • 2-3 Review papers
  • 7-12 Research papers
  • 1 Research note

It is not expected that any one author will have more than one paper accepted as sole or joint author. If there are exceptional circumstances, the papers would be treated exceptionally by being referred back to the journal editors.

Author guidelines

Manuscripts should be in the range of 4,000-10,000 words. The call for abstracts is open and competitive, and all contributions will go through a double-blind peer review process. If you wish to submit a paper, please submit an abstract first, to the Guest Editors. Full papers are by invitation only. The Guest Editors for the special issue are happy to discuss ideas for papers:

  • Stephen Pryke – s.pryke@ucl.ac.uk
  • Sulafa Badi – s.badi@ucl.ac.uk
  • Lena Bygballe – lena.bygballe@bi.no


  • Call for abstracts: 1 Oct 2015
  • Invitation to submit full papers: 31 Nov 2015
  • First draft submissions (3 mths to prepare MS): 29 Feb 2016
  • Decision with referee comments (3 mths): 31 May 2016
  • Revised papers (2 mths): 30 Jun 2016
  • Final submission and final edits (2 mths): 1 Oct 2016
  • Publication: 1 Feb 2017


Balkundi, P. and Harrison, D.A. (2006) Ties, leaders, and time in teams: strong inference about network structure’s effects on team viability and performance. Academy of Management Journal 49(1), 49–68.

Clegg, S. R., Courpasson, D., & Phillips, N. (2006) Power and organizations. Sage publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Dubois, A. and Gadde, L. E. (2002) The Construction Industry as a Loosely Coupled System: Implications for Productivity and Innovation, Construction Management and Economics, 20(7), 621-31.

Hossain, L. and Wu, A. (2009) Communications network centrality correlates to organisational coordination. International Journal of Project Management, 27(8), 795–811.

Kratzer, J., Leenders, R.T.A.J. and Van Engelen, J.M.L. (2010) The social network among engineering design teams and their creativity: a case study among teams in two product development programs. International Journal of Project Management, 28(5), 428–436.


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Robinson, H, Symonds, B, Gilbertson, B and Ilozor, B (2015) Design Economics for the Built Environment: Impact of Sustainability on Project Evaluation. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Design Economics for the Built Environment: Impact of Sustainability on Project Evaluation. By Herbert Robinson, Barry Symonds, Barry Gilbertson and Ben Ilozor, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2015. 432 pp, ISBN 978-0-470-65909-0, £75 (pb)

Publisher’s description: The drive towards environmentally friendly buildings and infrastructure has led to a growing interest in providing design solutions underpinned by the core principles of sustainability to balance economic, social and environmental factors. Design Economics for the Built Environment: Impact of sustainability on project evaluation presents new directions, reflecting the need to recognise the impact of climate change and the importance of sustainability in project evaluation. The aim is to provide a new approach to understanding design economics in the context of the changing policy environment, legislative and regulatory framework, and increasing economic, environmental and social pressure as result of the sustainability agenda. The book follows a structured approach from theories and principles in the earlier chapters, to the practical applications and emerging techniques focusing on value and social, economic and environmental considerations in making design decisions. It starts with the policy context, building on various theories and principles such as, capital cost, value of design and resource-based theories, the new rules of measurement (NRM) to explore cost planning, the relationship between height and costs, key socio-economic and environmental variables for design appraisal, eco-cost/value ratio (EVR), whole life theory and the treatment of carbon emission as external costs, productivity and efficiency, fiscal drivers and legal framework for carbon reduction, procurement and allocation of risks in contracts. Case studies, practical examples and frameworks throughout reinforce theories and principles and relate them to current practice. The book is essential reading for postgraduate students in architecture, building and quantity surveying and is also a valuable resource for academics, consultants and policy-makers in the built environment.

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Leung, M-y, Chan, I Y S and Cooper, C L (2015) Stress Management in the Construction Industry. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Stress Management in the Construction Industry. By Mei-Yung Leung, I Y S C, Cary L Cooper,, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2015. 280 pp, ISBN 978-1-118-45641-5, £80 (hb)

Publisher’s description: This systematic review of stress management in construction will help an understanding of the issues and theory as well as offering practical recommendations. The book addresses the growing concern to make work in construction healthier, safer and more productive. The authors integrate research results, survey statistics and scenario analyses to reveal underlying causes of stress. They offer recommendations for reducing stress.

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Cheung, S O, Wong, P S P and Yiu, T W (2015) The Soft Power of Construction Contracting Organisations. Oxford: Spon Research.

The Soft Power of Construction Contracting Organisations. By Sai on Cheung, Peter Shek Pui Wong and Tak Wing Yiu, Spon Research, Oxford, 2015. ISBN 978-1-13-880528-6, £95 (hb)

Publisher’s description: Across the AEC industry, the non-technical skills possessed by organisations are key to their overall performance. In this study, the particular importance of optimising the so-called “soft power” of organisations, is addressed. Things like organisational culture, responsible corporate behaviour, and building trust-based relationships with other stake-holders are seen as facets of a broader organisational capability, and the advantages of this strength are also explored. The internationally conducted research behind this book will provide readers with new insights into effective management, from both inter and intra organisational perspectives. This unique and important book is essential reading for researchers and advanced students of construction management.

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Kelly, J, Male, S and Graham, D (2014) Value Management of Construction Projects. 2nd ed. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Value Management of Construction Projects, 2nd ed ed. By John Kelly, Steven Male and Drummond Graham, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2014. 568 pp, ISBN 978-1-118-35123-9, £49.95 (pb)

Publisher’s description: Value Management is a philosophy, set of principles and a structured management methodology for improving organisational decision-making and value-for-money. The second edition builds on the success of the first edition by extending the integrated value philosophy, methodology and tool kit to describe the application of Value Management to the areas of service delivery, asset management, and, Programmes, in addition to Projects, products and processes. Value Management is a well-established methodology in the international construction industry, and in the UK has been endorsed as good practice in a range of government sponsored reports. In this book the authors have addressed the practical opportunities and difficulties of Value Management by synthesising the background, international developments, benchmarking and their own extensive consultancy and action research experience in Value Management to provide a comprehensive package of theory and practice. The second edition retains the structure of the first edition, covering methods and practices, frameworks of value and the future of value management. It has been thoroughly updated, and a number of new chapters added to encapsulate further extensions to current theory and practice.

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Best, R and Meikle, J (2015) Measuring Construction: Prices, Output and Productivity. Oxford: Routledge.

Measuring Construction: Prices, Output and Productivity. By Rick Best and Jim Meikle, Routledge, Oxford, 2015. 272 pp, ISBN 978-0-415-65937-6, £95 (hb)

Publisher’s description: Despite the size, complexity and importance of the construction industry, there has been little study to date which focuses on the challenge of drawing reliable conclusions from the available data. The accuracy of industry reports has an impact on government policy, the direction and outcomes of research and the practices of construction firms, so confusion in this area can have far reaching consequences. In response to this, Measuring Construction looks at fundamental economic theories and concepts with respect to the construction industry, and explains their merits and shortcomings, sometimes by looking at real life examples. Drawing on current research the contributors tackle: industry performance; productivity measurement; construction in national accounts; comparing international construction costs and prices; comparing international productivity. The scope of the book is international, using data and publications from four continents, and tackling head on the difficulties arising from measuring construction. By addressing problems that arise everywhere from individual project documentation, right up to national industrial accounts, this much-needed book can have an impact at every level of the industry. It is essential reading for postgraduate construction students and researchers, students of industrial economics, construction economists and policy-makers.

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Portman, J (2014) Building Services Design Management. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Building Services Design Management. By Jackie Portman, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2014. 270 pp, ISBN 978-1-118-52812-9, £42.50 (hb)

Publisher’s description: Building services refers to the equipment and systems that contribute to controlling the internal environment to make it safe and comfortable to occupy. They also support the requirements of processes and business functions within buildings, for example manufacturing and assembly operations, medical procedures, warehousing and storage of materials, chemical processing, housing livestock, plant cultivation, etc. For both people and processes the ability of the building services engineering systems to continually perform properly, reliably, effectively and efficiently is of vital importance to the operational requirements of a building. Typically the building services installation is worth 30-60% of the total value of a contract, however existing publications on design management bundles building services engineering up with other disciplines and does not recognise its unique features and idiosyncrasies. Building Services Design Management provides authoritative guidance for building services engineers responsible for the design of services, overseeing the installation, and witnessing the testing and commissioning of these systems. The design stage requires technical skills to ensure that the systems are safe, compliant with legislative requirements and good practices, are cost-effective and are coordinated with the needs of the other design and construction team professionals. Covering everything from occupant subjectivity and end-user behaviour to design life maintainability, sequencing and design responsibility the book will meet the needs of building services engineering undergraduates and postgraduates as well as being an ideal handbook for building services engineers moving into design

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Wilkinson, S J, Remoy, H and Langston, C (2014) Sustainable Building Adaptation: Innovations in Decision-making. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Sustainable Building Adaptation: Innovations in Decision-making. By Sara Wilkinson, Hilde Remoy and Craig Langston, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2014. 294 pp, ISBN 978-1-118-47710-6, £77.50 (hb)

Publisher’s description: How to adapt existing building stock is a problem being addressed by local and state governments worldwide. In most developed countries we now spend more on building adaptation than on new construction and there is an urgent need for greater knowledge and awareness of what happens to commercial buildings over time. Sustainable Building Adaptation: innovations in decision-making is a significant contribution to understanding best practice in sustainable adaptations to existing commercial buildings by offering new knowledge-based theoretical and practical insights. Models used are grounded in results of case studies conducted within three collaborative construction project team settings in Australia and the Netherlands, and exemplars are drawn from the Americas, Asia, Japan, Korea and Europe to demonstrate the application of the knowledge more broadly. Results clearly demonstrate that the new models can assist with informed decision-making in adaptation that challenges some of the prevailing solutions based on empirical approaches and which do not accommodate the sustainability dimension. The emphasis is on demonstrating how the new knowledge can be applied by practitioners to deliver professionally relevant outcomes. The book offers guidance towards a balanced approach that incorporates sustainable and optimal approaches for effective management of sustainable adaptation of existing commercial buildings.

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Orstavik, F, Dainty, A R J and Abbott, C, (Eds.) (2015) Construction Innovation. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Construction Innovation. Edited by Finn Orstavik, Andrew Dainty and Carl Abbott, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2015. 224 pp ISBN 978-1-118-65553-5, £89.95 (hb)

Construction innovation is an important but contested concept, both in industry practice and academic reflection and research. A fundamental reason for this is the nature of the construction industry itself: the industry and the value creation activities taking place there are multi-disciplinary, heterogeneous, distributed and often fragmented. This book takes a new approach to construction innovation, revealing different perspectives, set in a broader context. It coalesces multiple theoretical and practice-based views in order to stimulate reflection and to prepare the ground for further synthesis. By being clear, cogent and unambiguous on the most basic definitions, it can mobilise a plurality of perspectives on innovation to promote fresh thinking on how it can be studied, enabled, measured, and propagated across the industry. This book does not gloss over the real-life complexity of construction innovation. Instead, its authors look explicitly at the challenges that conceptual issues entail and by making their own position clear, they open up fresh intellectual space for reflection. Construction Innovation examines innovation from different positions and through different conceptual lenses to reveal the richness that the theoretical perspectives offer to our understanding of the way that the construction sector actors innovate at both project and organizational levels. The editors have brought together here leading scholars to deconstruct the concept of innovation and to discuss the merits of different perspectives, their commonalities and their diversity. The result is an invaluable sourcebook for those studying and leading innovation in the design, the building and the maintenance of our built environment.

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