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The construction industry in Ireland, including professional service firms (PSF’s) operating therein, are undergoing a period of change and uncertainty driven by economic, demographic, political and technological factors. While considerable evidence exists demonstrating the relationship between environmental turbulence on organisational decision making, there remains a distinct lack of focus on behavioural patterns affecting decision-making process of construction firms. Social contagion (SC) theory asserts that the spread of ideas, attitudes, or behaviour patterns in a group is achieved through imitation and conformity, and is well established within social sciences research, and is increasingly being used to analyse organisational behaviour. However, limited inquiry has been launched into SC theory within construction contexts, particularly within high knowledge intensive PSFs. Using a literature-based meta-synthesis, an exploration as to the usefulness of SC theory in the field of knowledge management in construction is presented. A framework for the analysis of knowledge acquisition using SC theory is provided, as part of an ongoing doctoral study. Based on the interpretations that social contagion research and learning for construction PSF’s are in fact two sides of the same social epistemological coin, a theoretical framework for the synthesis of social contagion into the body of theoretically informed research in construction is thus proposed.
Seriki, O & Murphy, R. (2018) 'Social contagion and knowledge acquisition in construction professional service firms, RICS COBRA 2018, The Construction, Building and Real Estate Research Conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 23 – 24 April 2018, RICS HQ, London, UK.