A well performing housing sector is critical to national economic and social objectives. The Australian housing sector is failing. Significant inefficiencies in the construction process has resulted in a 40 per cent increase in average construction time over the last fifteen years which has resulted in increased costs. The sector is in need of transformation.
Our study on design production technology innovation suggests such a transformation is catalyzed by extraordinary leadership that enables integrated systemic solutions in an aggressive, risk averse and litigious industry. The role of exercising such leadership often emerges among housing developers. A challenge to these leaders is that the housing sector is highly competitive and aggressive and actors are motivated primarily by profitability. Such behaviors tend to be institutionalized and thus inhibit change. It is proposed that leaders can institute a major change initiative without compromising on organisational profitability. Large scale innovations require extraordinary levels of collaboration among key actors and it is speculated that they are led by champions who display unusual citizenship traits.
This paper reports on a nationally funded 3 year study on offsite manufacturing and seeks to explore the prevalence of such organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) in the housing industry generally, and in housing developers specifically. OCB is a complex phenomenon which arises when individuals voluntarily assist in the workplace to implement courageous and risky initiatives without either implicit or explicit reward for seeking to achieve this noble greater ‘good’. There is a body of research developed on OCB and although theoretically there is support for the conceptual effectiveness of OCB in an organisation there has actually been little empirical evidence linking OCB with effectiveness and outcomes. Some examples have been trivial and there is work to be done to identify linkages between OCB and significant outcomes as well as linking different types of citizen behaviours to different outcomes. OCB has not been explored to a great extent theoretically nor empirically in the housing sector.
There is nothing more risky in the housing sector than introducing new policies, procedures or practices that may erode an organisation’s profitability and therefore trust in leaders is critical. Identifying the prevalence of this construct both theoretically and empirically will contribute to the field of housing research and also to the practice of leadership in the housing sector.