I am currently teaching construction technology / management in the DAB faculty. Previously I also taught in the IT faculty as well as had professional experience in both construction and computer programming.
Can supervise: YES
construction and IT
mobile technology use
adoption and diffusion of technology
the social side of technology adoption and the application of these theories (such as Activity Theory and Autopoiesis) to technology adoption and diffusion.
UG construction technology
Er, M, Turner, R, Lecoeuvre, L & Sankaran, S 2019, 'Marketing for the project: project marketing by the contractor', International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, pp. 1-17.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The purpose of this paper is to identify the marketing practices adopted by contractors in
project-based industries to win new business and maintain relationships with existing clients.
The authors interviewed eight such contractors, and used activity
theory as a lens to analyze the results. The authors investigated project marketing activities at four stages of
the project contract life cycle, and against four enablers of collaboration.
The authors have identified that the service-dominant logic pervades project marketing.
Through the project contract life cycle the marketing activity starts with a strategic focus, becomes tactical,
then operational and returns to strategic. Project marketing involves executive managers, marketing, client or
account managers and project managers. Project managers have a key responsibility for project marketing.
The four enablers of collaboration, relationships, communication, going-with and trust, support each other
and the entire project marketing activity.
As a contribution to theory, the authors have identified the practices
adopted by contractors in project-based industries to market their competencies to clients to win new work
and maintain relationships with existing clients. The authors have identified practices throughout the
contract life cycle, and practices to develop collaboration. The next step will be to explain these practices in
terms of traditional marketing theory.
The results provide guidelines to contractors in project-based industries who
wish to improve their marketing activity to achieve sustainable performance. Industry may also find it useful
to train or coach their project managers to be conscious of their marketing role.
Previous work has been conceptual in nature and has speculated on the nature of
the project marketing performed by contractors to win new projects, and se...
Le, NQ, Er, M & Sankaran, S 2018, 'The Implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Construction Industry: Case Studies in Vietnam', International Journal of Engineering and Technology, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 335-340.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The research introduces the combination of Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Activity Theory to investigate the current implementation of BIM in Vietnamese context. Data was collected through three large AEC firms (Architect, Engineering, and Construction) to present the comprehensive understanding of BIM practices in the construction industry. Qualitative approach was employed with the use of semi-structured interview to examine respondents’ perspectives of their daily BIM activities. Interpretive abductive strategy was used to interpret and transform everyday beliefs and meanings into social scientific knowledge that matches Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Activity Theory. Key findings were mediating forces affecting the BIM implementation including tools, rules, division of labour and contradictions among elements in the activity system
Er, M 2017, 'Construction Project Management: An Experiential Learning Case Study', International Journal of Engineering and Technology, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 378-382.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Experiential learning exercises have been advocated as a way of improving learning outcomes for students. This paper reviews the different approaches that educators have attempted in introducing such practical learning exercises into the area of construction management degrees. This research develops a case study that focuses on a subject delivered in the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney and specifically in the area of Construction Project Management. The subject takes students from a variety of course disciplines to initially develop a construction management plan for building works. Students are then immersed into the proposed project to participate in the building of that structure. The experience of the subjects is proven to be rewarding in providing an object to which students can apply their construction skills. The success of the course was found to be subject to several variables such as the organisation and planning and the attributes of the individual work supervisors, specifically their industry experience and ability to effectively communicate with students.
Er, M 2017, 'Management of Construction Projects in Vietnam: An Activity Theory Analysis', International Journal of Engineering and Technology, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 387-391.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The analysis of managing construction projects is often reviewed using the iron triangle of time, cost and quality. Researchers in the field of project management have called for new paradigms to be applied to analysing projects. The research in this paper uses Activity Theory as a lens of interpretation to compare the management of construction projects in Vietnam against practices used in developed countries. The research focuses on the work Activity of construction management professionals and the mediating forces that differentiate building in Vietnam. The research found mediating factors such as the physical environment where work was taking place, the low cost of labour and the culture characteristics of loss of face and approach to site safety, played a significant role in the construction Activity in Vietnam. An emergent theme highlighted by using the Activity Theory paradigm is an interconnected relationship between mediating elements in an Activity System.
Er, M, Pollack, JB & Sankaran, S 2013, 'Actor-Network Theory, Activity Theory and Action Research and their application in project management research' in Drouin, N, Muller, R & Sankaran, S (eds), Novel Approaches to Organizational Project Management Research: Translational and Transformational, Copenhagen Business School Press, Copenhagen, pp. 164-198.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Projects pay attention to activities, deal with relationships and involve change. Hence research approaches that are useful to examine activities or work practices (e.g. Activity Theory), investigate relationships (e.g. Actor-Network Theory) and facilitate change (e.g. Action Research) could be very useful for project management researchers. While some papers in project management (PM) journals report using these approaches we expect that they will become more prevalent in the future due to the recent demand for more emphasis on detailed investigation of what is occurring in real practice and the management of complexity in projects by describing interconnections. Further, realizing intended benefits from projects requires more attention to the change process that is often left out of the scope of managing a project.
Le, NQ, Er, M & Sankaran, S 2018, 'Building information modeling (BIM) adoption and implementation: Interaction between BIM users and non-BIM users', Streamlining Information Transfer between Construction and Structural Engineering, Australasia and South-East Asia Structural Engineering and Construction Conference, ISEC Press, Brisbane, pp. 1-6.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The research introduces the combination of Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Activity Theory to investigate the process of adoption and implementation of BIM in the construction industry in Vietnam. Data was collected from three large main contractors as they are considered as innovation leading organizations. Qualitative research was employed using semi-structured interviews to analyze respondents’ perspectives of their daily BIM activities. Main informants include senior managers, BIM team members and site staff. Key findings were the factors affecting the decision of BIM adoption of senior managers (i.e., non-BIM users), the factors affecting BIM implementation of site staff (i.e., BIM users), and the contradictions emerging when senior managers mandate to use BIM, and employ a BIM team as the change agent for instruction and collaboration on the construction site.
Turner, R, Er, M, Sankaran, S & Lecoeuvre, L 2016, 'Marketing for the project: Project marketing by the contractor', Proceedings of EURAM 2016, EURAM 2016: Manageable Cooperation?, EURAM, Paris.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Three types of organization are involved in project marketing: the project itself; the investor; and
the contractor. In this paper we explore marketing practices adopted by contractors in projectbased
industries. We have interviewed eight such contractors, and used Activity Theory as a lens
to analyse our results. We investigated project marketing activities at four stages of the project
contract life-cycle, and against four enablers of cooperation. We have identified that the servicedominant
logic pervades project marketing. Through the project contract life-cycle the marketing
activity starts strategic, becomes tactical, then operational and returns to strategic. Project
marketing involves executive managers, marketing, client or account managers, and project
managers. Project managers have a key responsibility for project marketing. The four enablers of
cooperation, relationships, communication, collaboration and trust, support each other, and the
entire project marketing activity. Key words: Project marketing; contractors, project-based
industries, project contract life-cycle, relationship, communication, collaboration, trust.
Er, M & Morris, A 2015, 'Private Certification of Construction In NSW: The Strata Managers Perspective', Proceedings of the 47th IIER International Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, The IIER International Conference on Recent Innovations in Engineering and Technology, IRAJ, Bangkok, Thailand, pp. 31-35.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The introduction of private certification for construction work by the New South Wales (NSW) state government was aimed at improving turn-around times of building works certification whilst maintaining a consistent level of compliance with statutory building standards. A fundamental role of strata managers is to represent the owner’s interests in maintaining a building once handed over on completion. This paper develops a pilot qualitative case study that explores the effect that private certification of construction work has had on the quality of completed construction works and the impact on the work of strata managers. The themes developed in the research indicates that strata managers believe the introduction of private certification has failed to maintain the quality of completed buildings with questions raised about both the building contractor and the private certifier with additional costs for repairs often bore by the owners. Strata managers drew a direct relationship between poor quality work resulting from private certification and an increase in their own workload.
Er, M 2014, 'Discrimination of Women in Construction: An Activity Theory Perspective', Australian Journal of Commerce Research, International Workshop on Business, Management and Internal Control (IWBMIC), Australian Society for Commerce Industry and Engineering, Phuket, Thailand, pp. 17-23.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The participation of females in the general workforce is increasing in Australia however the ongoing level in the construction industry, and in particular in positions other than in administrative roles, remains relatively low. Discrimination against women working in the construction industry has been identified as a key contributor to a negative view of the industry and serves as a deterrent to females considering a career in building. The introduction of legislation such as the Workplace Gender Equality Act (2012) and the establishment of institutional support groups such as the Nation Women in Construction (NAWIC) are aimed at improving female work equity. Taking into consideration the relatively low participation rate of female workers in the construction industry despite various support mechanisms for gender equality, this paper develops a pilot study reviewing the manifestation of discrimination in the construction industry from the point of view of construction site workers. An interpretive case study was developed using Activity Theory to underpin the research findings.
Turley, J, Er, M & Morkaya, K 2014, 'Project Case Study: Structural Analysis, Design and Laboratory Testing of a Complex Masonry Facade', Proceedings of the Australasian Structural Engineering Conference, Australasian Structural Engineering Conference, ASEC, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper is a case study for the structural analysis, design and laboratory testing of the complex façade of Frank Gehry's Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. It presents the design philosophy adopted for the overall brick support system and the final design solution. It also gives an overview of the analysis and design process, and laboratory testing used to arrive at the final solution.
Gandhi, S, Sankaran, S, Er, M, Orr, K & Khabbaz, H 2014, 'Developing Technology-assisted multi-disciplinary learning strategies', 31st International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining, ISARC 2014 - Proceedings, International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, UTS, Sydney, pp. 346-353.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The construction industry is multi-disciplinary and collaborative in nature. Project managers are expected to understand the relations, roles and responsibilities in this collaborative working environment. Construction project managers need to
be equipped with skills to process and understand the principles of interdisciplinary working. In order to keep pace with industry requirements, it is necessary for universities to teach subjects in tertiary education courses that educate and motivate construction students towards interdisciplinary working. This paper is based on a research project aimed at understanding opportunities and challenges for introducing subjects that require students from different
disciplines to work together on an integrated project. In order to teach interdisciplinary working principles to project management students, a new post-graduate subject, Integrated Project Delivery, was introduced in the Master of Project Management at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) as part of a construction sub-major. The subject was designed and teaching materials prepared
based on inputs from architecture, engineering and construction management academics. In the teaching of the subject, interdisciplinary student teams were formed based on educational background and professional experience. An (pedagogical) action research approach was adopted to
study the challenges and benefits of new ways of learning in line with the UTS learning strategies being adopted by academics. The main finding of this research concluded that project- based learning is very valuable to both students and industry alike as it promotes working on a live project enthusiastically and gaining industry experience in new ways of working adopted by industry. Working in multi-disciplinary teams requires students to respect the other team participants from different backgrounds, inculcating values of team spirit and discouraging adversarial behaviours. Furthermore ...
Er, M 2012, 'Sources of Information for Mobile Knowledge Workers on Construction Projects', International Conference on Computer Technology and Development (ICCTD 2012), International Conference on Computer Technology and Development, ASME, Phuket, Thailand, pp. 335-341.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
As workers such as Foreman move around construction sites they are often required to make on the spot decisions and as such can be classified as a Construction Mobile Knowledge Worker (CMKW). Mobile technology affords 'just in time' access to information which in theory should improve support to such construction site decision makers however mobile tools are yet to make a clear impact on construction site work. This research examines the information system of mobile knowledge workers as it exists on two case study construction sites. The sources of information are identified through the thematic analysis of how the information is used and valued. The research differentiates between knowledge and information sources and finds that the knowledge sources are favored as a tool for decision making.
Er, M & Lawrence, EM 2011, 'Using Activity Theory to Examine Information Systems for Supporting Mobile Work', Proceedings of the 24th Bled eConference, Bled eConference, University of Maribor, Bled, Slovenia, pp. 517-529.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
An information system delivers support for decision making; however the physical constraints associated with mobile work often means that such support is limited. Despite the limitations, mobile workers manage to get work done. A broader review of a mobile worker's information system use reveals information sources that are outside the usual analysis of the technology and data. Decision making in mobile work would benefit from the development of these alternative information sources. A comprehensive description of the existing information system of mobile workers is a vital step in supporting technology development. This paper considers two different mobile workers, their information system and how they interact with that system. To assist in presenting a holistic view of the case studies, Activity Theory is used as a lens of interpretation.
Er, M, Kay, RJ & Lawrence, EM 2010, 'Information Systems and Activity Theory: A Case Study of Doctors and Mobile Knowledge Work', 7th International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations, International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations, IEEE Conference Publishing Services, Las Vegas, USA, pp. 603-607.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Mobile workers operate in a manner that isolates them from a traditional office. Further, some of these workers are required to make complex decisions during their travel. This paper is aimed at developing an understanding of the information system utilised by mobile workers and examines the information supply. A much broader view of the information system of mobile knowledge workers is produced through the development of two case studies, doctors on ward rounds and newspaper reporters writing and submitting work from the field. These case studies are assisted through the examination of data using Activity Theory as a lens of interpretation. The resulting framework identifies technical, social and environmental factors that influence the way mobile knowledge workers interacted with information.
Er, M 2007, 'Technology Adoption and the Mobile Worker: The Case of the Field Journalist', CollaborateCom 2007, International Conference on Collaborative Computing, IEEE, White Plains, USA, pp. 442-446.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Mobile technology offers the potential to connect the mobile worker with information resources which would normally be available in an office setting. Such devices could improve the competency of these workers when making on-the-spot decisions however there are many published cases of failure to adopt such innovations. In many instances the potential which the tool possesses to improve work has been recognised by workers and yet they persist with incumbent work methods. This paper examines one such case, namely print journalists reporting from the field. Major impediments to mobile technology adoption include the potential negative effect which the device has upon the established information system and, in particular, its influence on the level of collaboration of different mobile workers.
Er, M 2007, 'Developing Mobile Technology for Construction Sites', Australasian Universities Building Conference Association 2007, Australian Universities Building Education Association Annual Conference, AUBEA, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 140-149.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
An attribute of construction workers operating on a construction site is the necessity to be mobile, a feature that results in their disconnection from the information hub which is physically located at the site office. This means that these workers functioning at the point of work are often faced with an information system which is fragmented and prone to inefficiencies, resulting in decisions being made on the basis of inaccurate information. It has been suggested that mobile technology offers a solution to this problem however to date the construction industry has failed to take advantage of this technology. This paper reflects on how site decisions are currently made. We consider the importance which collaboration contributes to the decision making process which is highlighted by informal work agreements. This attribute forms a major component to the information system of these mobile construction site workers and has a substantial influence on the adoptability of a mobile technology.
Lawrence, EM & Er, M 2007, 'Longitudinal Study of Mobile Technology Adoption: Evolution at Work', Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Digital Society (ICDS'07), International Conference on Digital Society, IEEE, Guadaloupe, French Caribbean, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Workplaces are changing as new technologies are introduced in an effort to improve efficiency and increase business turnover. Although there has been an explosion of mobile technologies and devices in recent time, very few in situ studies of the adoption of these technologies have been undertaken. This paper reports on the results of a longitudinal case study of a business over a six year period as a knowledge worker shifted from Australia to the USA and then to England. It outlines how the company moved from paper based systems to an online system and finally to a mobile commerce system. The authors have used Mobile Informatics to analyze the use of mobile devices in particular settings and low end disruption theory to assist in the interpretation of the data.
Er, M & Underwood, J 2006, 'Innovation for the mobile workforce: An active theory model', Transformational Tools for the 21st Century, Transformational Tools for the 21st Century, Knowledge Creation Press, Rockhampton, Australia, pp. 59-63.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Er, M & Kay, RJ 2005, 'Mobile technology adoption for mobile information systems: an activity theory perspective', Proceedings of International Conference on Mobile Business (ICMB'05), International Conference on Mobile Business, IEEE, Sydney, Aust, pp. 322-325.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The development of mobile technology has allowed the potential of information systems to extend information access and collaboration beyond the normal boundaries of the traditional centres of coordination such as the office. It is therefore puzzling that with the large capitol expenditure for research and development into mobile tools such as Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or the laptop, that their adoption and use does not necessarily reflect returns in the same order of magnitude. This paper reflects on the potential enhancements to work delivery that mobile devices offer as well as examining the reasons why their adoption has been far from spectacular. We attempt to highlight the reasons that affect adoptability of mobile technology devices through the use of Activity Theory. This theory will be applied to a case study examining an attempt to adopt mobile technology.
Er, M & Kay, RJ 2005, 'Towards an activity theory perspective on mobile information systems', Proceedings of the 16th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS 2005), Australasian Conference on Information Systems, FIT-UTS, Sydney, Aust, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kay, RJ & Er, M 2004, 'Autopoiesis & mobile technology adoption: The case of wireless collaboration', International Federation For Information Processing, IFIP Working Conference on Mobile Information Systems, Springer, Oslo, Norway, pp. 303-310.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Highly complex collaborative systems often present contexts where the use of wireless enabled technologies could provide numerous benefits. The adoption of such technologies has proved extremely difficult, however. This paper explores issues of technolog
Dyson, LE & Er, M 2004, 'A Hybrid Design Approach to the Development of Mobile Systems in the Construction Industry', Building Society Through E-Commerce 2004, Collaborative Electronic Commerce Technology and Research, Universidad de Talca, Santiago, Chile, pp. 1-15.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Er, M & Kay, RJ 2004, 'Encouraging the Use of Technology for Collaboration in the Construction Industry: A Solution facilitated through experiential learning', Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2004, Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education AACE, Lugano, Switzerland, pp. 4524-4530.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Er, M & Kay, RJ 2004, 'Facilitating Collaboration for the Construction Industry: Designing an Appropriate Interface', Innovations Through Information Technology, International Conference on Information Resources Management, Idea Group Publishing, New Orleans, USA, pp. 432-435.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Er, M & Underwood, J 2004, 'Activity Support with Mobile Technology: The Path to Adoption', Proceedings of the ISCAR Regional Conference, International Society for Cultural and Activity Research(ISCAR)Regional Conference Application of Activity Theory to Education, Information Systems and Business, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, pp. 63-70.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Er, M & Kay, RJ 2003, 'Collaboration for the Building Industry: Towards Mobile Document Management on Building Sites', Building Society through E-Commerce: e-Government, e-Business and e-Learning, Collaborative Electronic Commerce Technology and Research, Collector Latam Editions, Santiago, Chile, pp. 65-77.