Informal Construction Practices as Knowledge Incubators: A Conceptual Framework

Samwel Alananga Sanga, Justine Mselle


Informal learning in construction projects offers opportunities for learning in a manner that could be likened to conventional incubation. However, whether the two concepts are similar or closely related in terms of their intended/unintended outcome is not well investigated. A guided literature review based on 20 pre-specified incubation issues has revealed that conventional incubators and informal learning-by-doing practices in construction projects in developing countries are likely to be similar on three issues; “rationale for their existence”, “their employment prospect” and their respective characteristics of “graduates and graduation qualifications”. As learning mechanism the two, differ substantially in the remaining 17 issues specifically on those relating to support services that accompany learning. Conventional incubators provide services and functions that facilitate the growth of firms and entrepreneurs while actors involved explicitly understands the learning objectives while informal learning-by-doing practices do not require the double-coincidence of learning intentions between the mentor and the mentee. Furthermore, unlike conventional incubators which are physical or virtue spaces, informal learning-by-doing, utilises physical spaces (informal construction sites) only as tools in the knowledge transfer process and skilled craftsmen, social networks and knowledge development are integrated as incubators. It is therefore, imperative for governments in developing countries to nurture informal construction practices so as to incubate innovative skills thus creating an incubator-like environment within the informal setting.

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Business and Economic Research  ISSN 2162-4860

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