Article: 'Ordering in disguise: digital integration in built-environment practices'

Çıdık, M.S., Boyd, D. & Thurairajah, N., 2017. Ordering in disguise: digital integration in built-environment practices. Building Research & Information, pp.1–16. Available at:


The digital integration of built-environment practices aims to bridge a large variety of organizations to improve building delivery and operation. However, recent research on building information modelling (BIM) reported organizational challenges arising from digital integration. This suggests a need to develop a critical perspective on digital-integration-driven organizational change. Adopting a practice-based approach, this paper exposes the practice-level phenomenon responsible for the ongoing change to develop a critical understanding and enable better interventions. The concepts of ?simplification? and ?systematization? of digital integration are developed from previous literature and then used to explore and interrelate the practice-level experiences of digital integration (i.e. the experience of the change from within) and the emerging patterns of interactions (i.e. the picture of the change from outside) in a BIM-enabled design project. The concept of ?ordering in disguise? is proposed to capture this phenomenon. It shows that practitioners experience digital integration as various task-specific instances of unresponsive technology. However, they are unaware that their ongoing efforts to accommodate it actually further reinforce digital integration?s simplification and systematization. This makes the unresponsiveness of technology harder to challenge, and ultimately forces the organization to change and adapt to it. Implications for management of practice are outlined.

Posted on
Publications   Research