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Human behaviour and its effect on BIM implementation

Human behaviour can have both positive and negative effects on how BIM is implemented within different types of organisations.

There may be a need to explore how BIM training is factored into an organisation and how team members are engaged with continuous professional development on an ongoing basis.

We behave as we do for various reasons. Here, we look into two factors: personality and rules.


Humans behave as they do because of personality traits whether learned or innate. Arnold (1960) categorises personality into five distinctive dimensions abbreviated as OCEAN.

Openness to experience

People who report themselves to have high levels of openness to experience tend to like working with ideas and possibilities (as opposed to established methods), and they are ready to re-examine their attitudes and values.


People who report themselves to have high levels of conscientiousness tend to describe themselves as being highly organised and thorough in their approach to tasks, implying a desire to do things well.


People who report themselves to have high levels of extroversion tend to describe themselves as outgoing, gregarious, lively and sociable.


People who report themselves to have high levels of agreeableness tend to describe themselves as being helpful to others and mindful of others’ feelings, and as preferring cooperation to competition. This typically manifests itself in behavioural characteristics that are seen as kind, sympathetic and cooperative.


People who report themselves to have high levels of neuroticism tend to describe themselves as prone to worry and self-doubt, and being highly affected by their emotions in stressful situations’.


The second factor why humans behave as they do is down to the attempt to meet rules set before them in a society or organisation.

‘Human behaviour is largely constrained by the rules that govern particular situations and environments. We are constantly obliged to behave in a particular way, or to avoid certain behaviours. These rules may be formal regulations such as laws, or they may be informal rules of ‘social etiquette’, which are not written down but are implicit within the situation itself.’

(Burgess 1999)

This behaviour is commonly demonstrated in institutions and organisations where everything has to be done in a particular manner. This could be for the purpose of fairness, creating a basis for settling disputes or promoting discipline and productivity among workers.

Your task

Why should architecture engineering and construction organisations prioritise their understanding of human behaviour when implementing BIM?

Using the Human Behaviour and OCEAN table resource PDF document below, complete what you think would be examples of the positive and negative effects of behaviours when implementing BIM into an organisation.

What measures can be put in place to address negative human behaviour before it halts the implementation process?


Arnold, M. B. (1960) Emotion and personality. New York, NY, US: Columbia University Press.

Burgess, C. (1999) Breaking the Rules: Why do People Behave in the Way They Do? [online] available from https://people.exeter.ac.uk/cnwburge/pages/Rule-breaking.html [1 August 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

BIM Implementation within the AEC Industry

Coventry University