Getting real about BIM: Critical realist descriptions as an alternative to the naïve framing and multiple fallacies of hype

Stephen Fox (Corresponding Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – For some years, it has been claimed that Building Information Modelling (BIM) will bring about major improvements to the productivity of the building industry. Yet, productivity has declined while claims for BIM have expanded. Often, BIM descriptions comprise the naïve framing and multiple fallacies of hype. The purpose of this paper is to present critical realist descriptions and explain their advantages compared to BIM hype descriptions. Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal critical realist case study of BIM causal mechanism and causal context. Findings – Critical realist analysis reveals that hype about BIM underplays many inter-related causal requirements: all of which are needed to bring project business outcome from management action. Practical implications – Many inter-related non-trivial causal factors need to be taken into account to achieve business outcome from BIM implementation action. Further, factors claimed at the outset to be adequate to achieve outcome from action may be less than adequate. Originality/value – The originality of this paper is that critical realism analysis across six years is presented. This longitudinal data reveals that claims for BIM can be more future goals than current certainties. The value of this paper is that detailed analysis of hype descriptions is provided alongside critical realist descriptions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)405-422
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



    • critical realism
    • framing
    • BIM
    • technology management
    • hype
    • fallacy

    Cite this