The social life of the novel idea: What did social psychologists ever do for us?

Barrett, Jennifer Eve orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6795-1615, Goulding, Jack Steven and Qualter, Pamela (2013) The social life of the novel idea: What did social psychologists ever do for us? Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 20 (3). pp. 250-266. ISSN 0969-9988

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Purpose - The paper presents the extant literature relating to the social processes of innovation in built environment design teams. The paper connects the relevant and significant work in the field of Social Psychology and Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) to derive a theoretical framework which can be used to direct further research, towards development of the behavioural facet of design management.

Design/methodology/approach - First, we establish which aspects of social processes of innovation are already present within the AEC field and examine concepts/ideas in Social Psychology that are likely to be important in understanding group processes within AEC, applying three emergent themes of 1) social climate; 2) risk attitudes and 3) motivation and reward. Second, we identify which elements of Social Psychology may be used to expand, consolidate and develop our understanding and identify gaps in AEC specific knowledge.

Findings - The paper suggests that whilst the AEC literature has supplanted some key elements of Social Psychology, this discipline offers a further and significant theoretical resource. However, whilst some aspects of social climate and motivation/reward are well-represented in the AEC field, these have not yet been fully explored. Furthermore, how collective attitudes to risk can influence design decision-making is identified as having a limited presence.

Originality/value - This paper is the first to bring together the two disciplines of AEC and Social Psychology to examine the social aspects of innovative design performance in built environment teams. The paper fulfils an identified need to examine the social processes that influence innovative design performance in construction

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