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Paper w78-1999-2327:
Survey of information technology and the structure of the Saudi Arabian construction industry

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Brien M J O', Al-Biqami N M

Survey of information technology and the structure of the Saudi Arabian construction industry

Abstract: While technical advances are the main drivers in the adoption of Information Technology (IT) in the construction industry, such advances can only be incorporated through a due appreciation of the structures of the industry. Earlier work has shown how the organisational structure of the industry is in large part determined by the nature of the economic and financial exchanges which takes place. New IT initiatives succeed to the degree to which they are congruent with those financial exchanges. In short, economic benefits must accrue. This in turn begs the questions: who benefits, and how are the benefits to be distributed amongst the various parties? The answers to these questions provide the basis for establishing a successful implementation. This short-term 'economic benefits' argument does not, however, preclude a more substantial organisational shift at some later point. In this paper we provide an analysis of the economic structure of the construction industry in Saudi Arabia, and in particular the degree to which IT has established itself in that industrial sector. The Saudi Arabian Construction industry is one of the largest in the world, being devoted to the provision of a large-scale infrastructure. However, in many of its characteristics it is unique. It is these elements of uniqueness which make this particular industry interesting: the uniqueness poses new problems for the developers of novel and innovative IT construction systems. Yet despite these aggregate figures and anecdotal facts the small-scale nature of the construction industry has been poorly researched and documented. The analysis of the economic and organisational structure of the Saudi Arabian IT construction industry provided in this paper provides the fine-grained matrix within which new IT systems can be built. The paper describes an ongoing study of the Saudi Arabian construction industry. It draws together existing facts on the industry and new ones which are being elicited though a large survey of the industry. Finally, it is envisioned that tentative conclusions will be provided on the economic and organisational structure of the industry.



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Series: w78:1999 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.economic (0.028723) class.strategies (0.014463) class.roadmaps (0.014116)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada. The support of the editors, particularly Dr. Dana Vanier, is gratefully appreciated.


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