Common biases in client involved decision-making in the AEC industry

Sujesh F. Sujan, Arto Kiviniemi, Steve Jones, Jacqueline Wheatcroft, Eilif Hjelseth

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Understanding of the constitution of client
involved decisions is important for future improvements of
the processes. Significant decisions in construction
projects are reliant on heuristic processes where assumptions are developed from past experience. The paper
presents a methodology to collect empirical data in an
unstructured manner utilizing participant intuition and
experience regarding project level collaboration, a term
easily understood by practitioners. Empirical data collected
from 6 focus group discussions in Norway and 18
individual interviews in Finland is associated with biases
in decision making aimed at bridging the gap of understanding and literature’s insufficient coverage. An analytic
framework was developed to suit the diverse emergence of
concepts to allow application of psychological principles
in a structured manner to empirical data. The paper
contributes by identifying types of cognitive and motivational biases in client involved decisions. The biases are
found to be alleviated by one another depending on the
particular application of the decision. Findings suggest that
normative beliefs exist developed from past experience
and habitual thinking. A number of emerged biases in this
domain are alleviated from normative beliefs which are
discussed in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-238
JournalFrontiers of Engineering Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019


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