The Quality of Small Social Networks and Their Performance in Architecture Design Offices

Tito Castillo, Rodrigo F. Herrera, Luis F. Alarcón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Within the construction industry, there are firms dedicated to designing, executing, and restoring all types of buildings. To achieve their objectives, design offices form multidisciplinary project groups with designers from the same or other organizations. Design offices form small, unstable, and dynamic social networks dissolved at the end of each project. The flow of information through such informal organizations is decisive in their good performance. To estimate the ability of information to flow in construction organizations, social network analysis (SNA) has been used. However, SNA metrics are hardly useful for characterizing small design offices. Indeed, it is difficult to establish by SNA the quality of a small social network regarding its transmission of necessary information and performance during production processes. The purpose of this research was to figure out a metric to assess the quality of social networks in design offices based on the links' distribution regarding their connectivity for information flow and related to their performance. Metrics and criteria for quality and configuration in small social networks were studied. The organizational structures of six architecture design firms were analyzed through three of their main social networks, and statistics were analyzed for those networks' distribution of links and performance. As a result, relevant correlations were obtained between the proposed indicator and the efficiency in the design of the projects. Most members of the design team maintained between two and five communication links with their colleagues in the development of projects during project capture, project development, and postsale or modifications. Managers can use this information to oversee their work teams, improving the quality and configuration of social networks aiming to better performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04022162
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume149
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Configuration
  • Design offices
  • Performance
  • Quality
  • Social networks

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