SME contractors on the stage for energy renovations? A dramaturgical perspective on SME contractors’ roles and interactions with house owners
Doktorsavhandling, 2017

Energy renovations of single-family houses in Sweden are moving slowly, but if energy renovated, these houses hold great potential for decreased energy consumption. This could imply a new area of exploration regarding potential business opportunities for SME contractors. The slow movement of energy renovations creates a challenge however. Previous research has focused on SME contractors and their work or house owners and their behavior, but to understand the lack of energy renovations, it is not enough to examine only either/or. It is also necessary to study the interaction between these two actors in order to understand how the space is being used and how they negotiate what needs to be done. The aim of the thesis was thus to extend our understanding of SME contractors within the construction and energy sector in southwest Sweden and their interactions with single-family house owners as potential customers. The aim was also to explore further whether increased understanding of SME contractors developing their businesses towards energy renovations of single-family houses could bring more light to contractors’ interactions with house owners as potential customers and the lack of energy renovations of single-family houses in Sweden. An interpretivist understanding, using Goffman’s dramaturgical theory (Goffman, 1959; 1961), was initiated to explore the interactions while Action research is the methodology and framework for this study. The method was used to work with the SME contractors in developing their businesses towards energy renovations. However, since action research focuses on social change, and Goffman’s dramaturgical theory focuses of stabilized actions, it is necessary to discuss how the two perspectives are merged. In order to achieve the aim, a combination of methods was needed. Two main methods were used: 18 observations of interactions between SME contractors and house owners, when they were discussing possible improvement measures in the house owners’ homes; and 16 workshops with three groups of SME contractors (a total of 26) collaborating to develop their businesses to find new ways to work with energy renovations of single-family houses. One of these groups developed a new concept regarding energy renovations of single-family houses, and in addition to the observations, this thesis is based on this group’s collaboration. This thesis demonstrates that SME contractors express some insecurity regarding their roles, their role performances, and also some of the materials and possible solutions they could use; and it shows how these insecurities shape and structure their interactions with house owners. Tensions were highlighted involving roles and performances, which together with insecurities create challenges for innovation and implementation of new practices. In addition, the study shows that interactions between SME contractors and house owners comprise a key aspect of the lack of energy renovations of single-family houses. The interaction with the established roles and performances locks the two actors into a routinized play that is difficult to change. This creates blocks for new input. Thus, to place SME contractors on the stage as responsible for the lack of energy renovations is to disregard the constraints of their professional role, which is created by the contractor’s interaction with the house owner at the house owner’s home.

house owners

energy renovations

interactions

single-family houses

action research

SME contractors

business development

dramaturgical theory

SB-H6, Sven Hultins gata 6, Chalmers Johanneberg
Opponent: Professor Dr. Thomas Berker

Författare

Veronica Carlsson

Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Construction Management

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Construction Management and Economics,; Vol. 35(2017)p. 276-287

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

An explanation for the lack of energy renovations in Swedish single-family houses

This thesis shows how a deeper insight of SME contractors’ actions and the way they interact with house owners when negotiating the scope of a renovation, can further our understanding of the lack of energy renovations for single-family houses in Sweden. Although Sweden is one of the front-runners among European countries when it comes to energy performance, there are sectors with high energy consumption in which implementation of energy-efficient solutions is moving slowly. One such sector is the housing sector, where single-family houses constitute a major segment. These houses require deep renovations to ensure their future lifespan; but they also hold a great potential for decreased energy consumption if they are energy renovated. Energy renovations of these houses, however, are going slowly.
Thus, there is a business potential that these kinds of renovations represent which is examined with SME contractors. But the major focus is on the interactions between SME contractors and owners of single-family houses since SME contractors, when negotiating with house owners about the scope of transformation of their houses, could play an important role as change agents and convince house owners to adopt and implement new energy-efficient solutions. Through this thesis it is shown how the interactions between SME contractors and house owners is a key aspect regarding lack of energy renovations of single-family houses. The interaction, with established roles and performances, lock the two actors up in a routinized play, difficult to change which create hindrance for new inputs.

Ämneskategorier

Samhällsbyggnadsteknik

Sociologi

ISBN

978-91-7597-658-7

Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4339

Utgivare

Chalmers tekniska högskola

SB-H6, Sven Hultins gata 6, Chalmers Johanneberg

Opponent: Professor Dr. Thomas Berker