Resistance to IT Change in the AEC Industry: Are the Stereotypes True?

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Information technology (IT) change is difficult to implement successfully. Cultural (people) issues are a major barrier to IT implementation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry and existing change models have limitations, particularly with respect to cultural issues, which directly affect the ability of companies within the AEC industry to successfully implement IT change. This paper discusses research exploring the relationships between a resistance to change index (RTCI) and the demographics of individuals to understand different AEC participants’ resistance to IT change. Identifying individuals that exhibit different intensities of resistance to IT change efforts and their attendant demographics provides benchmark data to organizations. The ability to identify potential resistors is the first step in helping ensure that new technology implementations succeed. Data was collected from a 156-person sample of the AEC population to determine the relationships among different demographic groups within the AEC population and differences in their RTCI. The data analysis found several demographic groups that were different in their likelihood of resistance, including profession, gender, computer understanding and experience, and awareness of past or future changes occurring in their company. Age and education level were expected to have relationships with RTCI, based on industry stereotypes. The data analysis found that these stereotypes have no scientific basis. Two other stereotypes, gender and computer understanding and experience, were supported by the data analysis.