Our aim is to examine the value of selected actor–network theory (ANT) elements in contributing to the development of an expanded theoretical and empirical conceptualization of collaboration in industrialized building construction for the housing sector. A review of collaboration meta-analyses literature from different disciplines suggests that collaboration is still commonly portrayed in a limited way as a strategy of integration driven in a top-down manner by a “convenor” of human stakeholders in ways that privilege simplified notions of coherence. We use specific ANT concepts empirically grounded in five case studies of innovative housing construction projects to describe an expanded conceptualization of the infrastructure of actor-networks. We examined a range of issues with respect to collaboration in industrialized building particularly in relation to network formation and disintegration. As the collaboration networks formed they sought coherence but not conformity and aimed for the management of tensions between integration and separation as well as stabilization and destabilization. This expanded conceptualization of collaboration describes the material-semiotic characteristics arranged around industrialized building technologies that are simultaneously stabilizing yet disruptive and proposes new ways by which the ideal of integration can be pursued in a fundamentally fragmented industry.
- Actor–network theory
- industrialized building