Construction cultures: Sources, signs, and solutions of toxicity

Stewart Clegg*, Martin Loosemore, Derek Walker, Alfons van Marrewijk, Shankar Sankaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter presents a holistic investigation into construction culture from an organisation studies as well as project management perspective, mobilising the concept of toxic project cultures as a novel conceptual lens to explore new ways to transform the construction industry into a more dynamic, innovative, and socially responsible sector. All levels of culture will need to change, and to be effective, attention on the part of project leadership to the change process is required on an everyday basis. Inter-organisational strategic change projects can serve as 'temporary trading zones', in which actors from different organisations bring in different work practices, narratives, norms, and values, thus creating opportunities for experimenting, knowledge exchange, and changing behaviour. In these arenas, doing things in unusual ways should always be on the agenda, to unlearn ingrained routines. Unlearning involves very different cognitive processes to learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstruction Project Organising
EditorsSimon Addyman, Hedley Smyth
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-111981379-8
ISBN (Print)978-111980717-9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Construction culture
  • Construction industry
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Project management
  • Temporary trading zones
  • Toxic project cultures

Cite this