Isomorphism within risk-management practices of the Australian construction industry

Jacqueline Jepson, Konstantinos Kirytopoulos, Nicholas Chileshe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Isomorphic pressures are thought to stimulate change and adoption of best practice in risk management (RM). Although this certainly occurs in most industries, it is not occurring in the construction industry. This research investigates institutional isomorphism in the Australian construction industry. In-depth interviews and surveys about the use of current risk tools and techniques (RT&T) by 25 experienced construction project managers (CPMs) were used to examine existing practice. A Delphi survey was conducted to validate these interviews using 11 experienced CPMs. These CPM reconfirmed that coercive and normative pressures created institutional isomorphism and a common approach in managing occupational health and safety (OH&S) risks. In contrast, for other categories of risk, CPMs have decoupled their practice from stipulations in standards by adopting a limited range of predominantly qualitative risk tools and techniques. CPMs, consider it more efficient and effective to rely on accrued experience, teams and external experts because of the unique constraints in construction projects. This research challenges the notion that CPMs are deficient in adopting new paradigms and opens an academic discourse on whether industry-specific project RM standards should be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1508-1524
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Construction Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Project risk management
  • construction industry
  • institutional isomorphism
  • narrative inquiry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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