Because of the fragmented nature of construction industry inter-organizational communication, construction industry stakeholders must rely on information exchanges in order to produce new information and directives for the process. This communication process does not always happen smoothly due to possible barriers during the information flow. The purpose of this study is to understand these potential information flow barriers and to use concept maps to engage students in discussions about communication within the construction industry. Concept map activities performed with industry professionals and senior construction management students in separate phases are described. To complement the concept map findings, interviews with key professional stakeholders provide further depth on reasons for potential communication barriers in the construction industry. Findings from this study indicate that students’ lack a thorough understanding of the holistic communication process and information flow that is critical to many construction project stakeholders. Guidelines are suggested for the use of concept maps as an educational activity that is engaging to students and will enhance their knowledge of information flows in the construction process.


This is the pre-print version of the article, it was originally published in:

El Debs, Luciana C.; Brunese, Priyanka S.; Shaurette, Mark. "Use of concept maps to illustrate barriers to construction industry inter-organizational communication" International Journal of Construction Education and Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15578771.2016.1226214

The publisher version can be found at:



concept maps, inter-organizational communication, construction management

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