Governing the common good: Collective action in institutional maintenance
Paper i proceeding, 2020

This paper deals with the governance of a particular common good in the Danish construction industry popularly referred to as 'the technical knowledge commons.' The technical knowledge commons encompass the sum of practical experiences, professional literature, techniques and tested routines in different technical areas that professionals are expected to be familiar with. Due to its role in institutionalizing conceptions of proper conduct and professional practice, the technical knowledge commons have been met by industry criticism, being seen as 'backdoor' regulation that stifles innovation and constitutes a barrier to the globalization of labour and building materials. We illustrate how the technical knowledge commons is singled out as a battleground for struggles to redefine the governance of the industry. Using the concepts of institutional interlocks and meta-routines, it is analysed how actors are connected to the knowledge commons and contribute to a distributed maintenance of contested institutionalized practices. On this basis, we discuss how existing interlocks have been challenged and lost legitimacy in the face of the industry's deregulation and globalization, and how a new form of collective agency has arisen as professional associations have rallied in an attempt to establish new and legitimate governance structures to maintain the common good.

Collective action

Knowledge commons





Stefan Gottlieb

Aalborg Universitet

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Construction Management

Christian Koch

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Construction Management

Nicolaj Frederiksen

Aalborg Universitet

Peter Vogelius

Aalborg Universitet

ARCOM 2020 - Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 36th Annual Conference 2020 - Proceedings

9780995546332 (ISBN)

36th Annual Conference on Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2020
online, United Kingdom,


Tvärvetenskapliga studier

Ekonomisk geografi


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