Diagnosing Organizational BIM Culture: A Qualitative Case Study Using Schein's Model

Sonali Alankarage, Nicholas Chileshe, Aparna Samaraweera, Raufdeen Rameezdeen, David J. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Myriad palpable benefits are associated with building information modeling (BIM) usage in the construction industry, but its full integration has been impeded by the necessary culture change required to release its inherent latent potential. Therefore, fully comprehending and investigating cultural manifestations of BIM-enabled construction organizations is critical to drive such change. Yet curiously, research in this field is scant due to the phenomenon's inherent complexity and subjective nature. Therefore, this study identifies and delineates underlying beliefs that are evident in BIM practices within a contractor construction organization by leveraging Schein's three-layered organizational culture model as the theoretical framework to analyze and interpret the primary and secondary data sourced from a case study research design. A large-scale BIM-enabled contractor organization represented the case, and the organizational BIM environment constituted the unit of analysis. Data were collected through eight in-depth semistructured interviews, direct observations, and documentation. Underlying beliefs are identified, suggesting that the company uses a combination of autocratic and participative decision-making methods, prioritizing teamwork, cooperation, and groupism over individualistic and competitive orientations. Emergent findings also reveal that employees believe in the inherent goodness of human nature and the latent capacity of individuals to govern themselves, fostering trust and autonomy within the organization. Professional behavior and conduct take a pragmatic, risk-taking, and trial-and-error approach to derive truth and reality. The organization believes in dominating the external environment rather than being submissive and considers a balance between present and future the most appropriate unit of time. Accordingly, the study enables managers to understand the shared beliefs of the employees concerning BIM and make decisions accordingly to promote and augment a harmonious alignment between cultural aspects and BIM practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05024005
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering - ASCE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


  • BIM culture
  • Building information modeling (BIM)
  • Case study
  • Organizational culture
  • Underlying beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial Relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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