Digital leadership enactment in the construction industry: barriers undermining effective transformation

Zulu, Sambo Lyson, Saad, Ali M., Ajayi, Saheed O., Dulaimi, Mohammed and Unuigbe, Maria orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7199-4303 (2023) Digital leadership enactment in the construction industry: barriers undermining effective transformation. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management . ISSN 0969-9988

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In the past decade, transforming key processes and activities towards a more digital nature has been the focus of most industries due to the associated advantages. Despite that, organisations in the construction sector are lagging the list of early adopters. The slow rate of a fundamental digital transformation is linked to the challenges facing an effective leadership. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to shed light on the barriers to digital leadership enactment in the construction industry. Limited research has empirically analysed and discussed these barriers to explain the low transformation rate in the existing body of knowledge.

This paper empirically investigates the perspectives of construction industry professionals acquiring various roles in the industry. Overall, the study comprises the views of 38 participants, adopting a qualitative methodological approach to explore relative barriers and explain the slow digital transformation rate.

Findings are grouped into five themes: leadership characteristics, management and organisational issues, resource constraints, technological issues, and risk perceptions. The findings are helpful to business leaders, researchers, trainers, and educators to develop measures to encourage leaders in the industry to be at the forefront of digital transformation in their organisations.

Literature, however, is discreet in reflecting the challenges and barriers facing today’s leadership in facilitating digital transformation among construction stakeholders. This paper provides insights into the variables that may be undermining wider digital adoption across the construction sector’s organisations.

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