Management study suggests technology will play a key role in construction's future

Robots could soon take charge of business decisions and biochips may even be implanted in construction employees to make them more efficient, suggests a new study by the Chartered Management Institute.

It also presents the possibility that UK firms might have to deal with the fallout from a withdrawal of the US from the world economy, as well as facing an increasing threat from cyberterrorism.

The institute's predictions of how the world of work will change over the next decade are based on an analysis of current trends and the views of business leaders and economists.

Combined with a survey of over 1,000 senior managers, the Management Futures study is intended to help business leaders prepare for the future.

While only 8% of construction managers foresee the use of implanted biochips at work, over a third expect robots to play a key role in improving business efficiency and 41% expect hologrammatic meetings to happen on a regular basis. Even more - 58% - think “virtual businesses” will be commonplace.

Over two-thirds of construction executives believe that large corporations will have more influence than government by 2018. Most respondents in the sector also say that customer participation in business decisions will increase.

Two-thirds predicted that environmental regulation would lead to products with longer lifecycles, and over half that working from home will become common for environmental reasons.

A possible scenario forecast is the withdrawal of the US from the global economy, while the construction marketplace is forecast to be heavily influenced instead by new players from Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Looking ahead 10 years, it is clear that the successful organisations will be those who can do more than embrace change - they will anticipate, identify and drive it. Of course we cannot determine the future, but that does not mean we shouldn't forecast and prepare for it to ensure that organisations and teams are effective, capable and competitive.”