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“This is a Paradigm Shift for the entire Industry” : Employee Resistance to Technological Innovation in the German AEC Industry

Dunhoft, Marie-Claire (2022) “This is a Paradigm Shift for the entire Industry” : Employee Resistance to Technological Innovation in the German AEC Industry.

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Abstract:In recent years, the German Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry has experienced a fundamental change towards the adoption of advanced technologies that can be considered as ‘disruptive’ and challenging for a rather traditional sector. Whilst various studies have already examined the process of adopting and implementing high-tech solutions, they have mainly concentrated on technologies, processes, and policies, disregarding human management. Hence, the objective of this paper was to explore how managers in the German construction industry manage the implementation process of new technology while also exploring how they deal with employee resistance that occurs throughout the implementation process. The findings of this study indicate that popular change management models need to be slightly refined in the specific context of introducing a disruptive technology in the AEC sector. More specifically, the findings show that the selection of a guiding coalition, consisting of a change agent and an external consultancy who possess high emotional intelligence (IE) is crucial for the success of the change. Moreover, given the traditional-based industry and the disruptive nature of the technology, a well-designed training is required to motivate and inspire employees for change. With regard to the sources of resistance, generational barriers, functional barriers, and insufficient management support were found to have the strongest impact on employee resistance to technology adoption. In accordance with the identified sources of resistance, empowering and involving employees, as well as the appointment of a change agent with transformational leadership skills and an external consultancy focusing on non-technical skills, emerged as one of the most effective strategies to mitigate resistance. Furthermore, continuous management support and an interactive training approach that focuses on practice rather than theory are critical to overcoming resistance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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