A sociotechnical systems approach towards understanding the relationship between flexibility and structure in a modular construction network

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“You can’t face the problem if the problem is your face.” The modular construction network of RC Panels currently experiences various flexibility related issues that may be caused by its underlying structure. To say something about whether this is the case, this study adopts a sociotechnical lens to analyze the structure of RC Panels’ modular construction network and say something about its relationship with flexibility. By applying the structural parameters from De Sitter (1998) and following the framework from Achterbergh and Vriens (2019), this study finds that the current structure indeed is not optimal. Even more so, the results in this study show that this sub-optimal network structure seems to have a negative impact on different types of flexibility. In an attempt to improve the current structure of RC Panels’ modular construction network, five recommendations are provided. The aim of these recommendations is to provide insight for employees regarding their current problematic structure and to show how improvements in their current structure can, ultimately, also improve flexibility. By tackling the root cause of a problem this study shows how the modular construction network of RC Panels can be better equipped to be flexible.
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