Changing institutional practices in the Dutch construction industry

Alfons Van Marrewijk*, Marcel B. Veenswijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A parliamentary enquiry in 2002 forced Dutch construction firms to end collusive practices and build an innovative construction industry. Intervention programmes were started in the period of 2004-2012 to implement new cultural values. This paper explores which cultural interventions have been employed to stimulate innovation in the construction sector and how did they worked out in two megaprojects. The study exposes the shortcomings of the hyperculture approach to change in the construction industry as social mechanisms easily result in the replication of social structure and power relations. To prevent failure, intentions for change need to include cultural patterns at action and interaction level. In the studied cases, these levels were addresses addressed in which both commissioners and contractors discuss practices of tendering and collaboration. The findings in this study are based upon a longitudinal study of and presence in the cultural intervention programmes in the Dutch construction industry from 2006 to 2012 and the ethnographic study of the urban train and the renewal sluices megaprojects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-62
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Project Organisation and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural change
  • Dutch construction sector
  • Innovation
  • Intervention
  • Narrative
  • Practices


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