Societal Changes and New Conditions for the Management of Large Construction Projects

Henrik Szentes*, Per Erik Eriksson
Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden.

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© 2013 Szentes and Eriksson

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden; Tel/Fax: +46920491000; E-mail:


The construction industry is often described as mature, conservative and resistant to change in research studies, governmental reports as well as in media. Both scholars and policy makers thereby find it critical to encourage innovation, development, and change within the construction industry. This study takes on a different perspective by investigating changes that have actually taken place. The aim is to increase the understanding of both backgrounds of changes which occurred, as well as how the changes have entailed new conditions for the management of large construction projects in Sweden. People working as clients’ project manager, contractors’ project manager or design manager were interviewed to obtain their perceived views on changes influencing the execution of large construction projects. Substantial changes have taken place creating new conditions for the management of large construction projects and a better understanding of these new conditions is important when planning for new projects. Changes within the field are often reactions to societal changes, and thus often implemented in an uncoordinated way creating sub-optimization and problems for the personnel. It seems as if the reputation of the construction industry being conservative has become an institution it-self amongst many professionals within the industry, potentially creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Keywords: Change, conditions, construction, institutional, management, project, societal.