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The occupational attractiveness of the built environment and the roles of individualism and collectivism: a hidden source of conflict and gender imbalance?

Dericks, G. H. and Phua, F. T. T. (2020) The occupational attractiveness of the built environment and the roles of individualism and collectivism: a hidden source of conflict and gender imbalance? Construction Management and Economics, 38 (9). pp. 773-788. ISSN 0144-6193

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01446193.2020.1757732

Abstract/Summary

The success of built environment projects is closely dependent on strong collective cooperation. Yet abundant anecdotal and academic evidence attests to weak collective cooperation within the industry. To date, no research in the built environment has investigated either the individual-level differences in individualism/collectivism that affect cooperativeness, or how gender may interact with these individual-level traits. In this research we seek to make a positive contribution by using the individual rather than organization as the unit of analysis. We first test the possibility that the built environment may in fact attract uncooperative individuals who are more individualistic than collectivist with respect to two specimen subsectors, i.e. construction management and architecture. At the same time we also employ a nuanced distinction between horizontal and vertical facets of individualism/collectivism, and assess potential interactions with gender. Using individual-level data (N¼548), we find that both the architecture and construction management subsectors are occupationally attractive to individuals from opposing ends of the horizontal and vertical individualism/collectivism spectrums, and that these traits interact with gender. We argue that our findings both expose an individual-level source of poor collective cooperation in the built environment industry, and underscore the need to address persistently low female recruitment and retention rates.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:90762
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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