The structure of emergent prefabricated housing industries: a comparative case study of Australia and Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prefabricated housing is a disruptive innovation struggling to take hold in a traditional complex product system (CoPS). It is quicker to produce and has improved environmental performance compared to traditional housing. CoPS have more dense and complex network connections than commodity industries, making disruptive innovation more difficult. Effective relational capabilities can achieve the coordination necessary to address this challenge. The prefabricated housing industry needs to develop a structure that drives these capabilities. Using a case study methodology, the structure of the industry is examined in two contrasting countries, namely Australia and Sweden, as they represent an early and late stage of industry emergence, respectively. A new framework is proposed for this purpose, enabling a repeatable, orderly and comprehensive disaggregation of industry structure to examine the latent drivers of relational capability. The main empirical contribution is to (1) describe an industry that is yet to be formally recognized by national statistical agencies and (2) show how the adoption of prefabricated housing can be accelerated. The study found that younger industries need a focused industry association with diverse membership to act as an effective system integrator.


External organisations
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Halmstad University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Construction Management
  • Building Technologies


  • Australia, complex product systems, Housing, industry, innovation, prefabrication, relationships, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-501
Number of pages19
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number6
Early online date2019 Apr 22
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch