Benefits and barriers in uptake of mobile apps in New Zealand construction industry: What top and middle management perceive

Tong Liu*, Anuradha Mathrani, Jasper Mbachu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
347 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Mobile apps offer construction workers a quick, affordable and user-friendly platform for meeting their information, communication and computing needs, with nearly 13,000 construction apps currently available in the market. This study aims to report construction managers’ perspectives on the uptake of mobile apps in the New Zealand construction industry. 

Design/methodology/approach: Exploratory research methods were used in two stages. First stage involved interviews with 14 construction managers who were registered with the New Zealand Registered Master Builders Association, followed by an online questionnaire in the second stage. The link of online questionnaire was sent to all members of participating professional organisations by their administrators. In total, 228 responses were received, of which 60 per cent participants completed the entire questionnaire. 

Findings: Results show an overall positive attitude towards the use of apps. Perceptions of top management personnel differed slightly from those of middle managers; the former expressed interest in apps usage at strategic level such as improving long-term client relationship management and satisfaction; while the latter were more interested in the apps use at operational and tactical levels such as task- or project-level productivity improvement. 

Research limitations/implications: Though bias has been minimised by giving equal opportunity to each member of trade and professional organisations to participate in this survey, of the 228 responses received, only 60 per cent participants completed the entire questionnaire. This is below the minimum requirement for a holistic representation of views. As a result, the findings might not be generalised beyond the study’s scope. 

Originality/value: The study provides new insights on the uptake of smartphone apps in New Zealand’s construction sector from the perspective of construction managers who make strategic decisions. The findings have implications for policy formulation and implementation in regards to the use of mobile apps for productivity improvement in the sector. Mobile apps developers could also gain understanding on functional needs and preferences of the construction workforce, which will help in development of more relevant apps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-265
Number of pages12
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2019


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