Applying social sciences to inspire behavioural change in the construction sector: an experimental study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In several reports, the construction industry has been criticized for inefficiencies, errors and increasing costs. Although the industry's critics and researchers implicitly call for a change in human behaviour, this is seldom explicitly problematized by any of them. It is rather seen as a natural consequence of the suggested measures for improvements. Researchers have begun to question if the influence of human psychology has not been underestimated in the present approach. After a review of different psychological theories an action research investigation of how psychological factors might contribute to the recurring problems in the construction sector and to the difficulties of changing it is carried out. An intervention method has been developed to counteract the tendency of various psychological functions that can distort information. It was found that the problems professionals are experiencing dramatically differ from those expressed in some critical reports. During the process, the professionals discovered their own role in the problem scenario. This shows a way to pay more attention to human/psychological issues in action design within the construction context, and what can happen when this is done.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Applied Psychology


  • Action research, human behaviour, information distortion, psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-710
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch