The technological impact on real estate investing: robots vs humans: new applications for organisational and portfolio strategies

Published date28 December 2020
Date28 December 2020
Subject MatterProperty management & built environment,Real estate & property,Property valuation & finance
AuthorElaine Worzala,Lawrence A Souza,Olga Koroleva,China Martin,Alicia Becker,Nathaniel Derrick
The technological impact on real
estate investing: robots vs humans:
new applications for organisational
and portfolio strategies
Elaine Worzala
College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Lawrence A Souza
Saint Marys College of California, Moraga, California, USA
Olga Koroleva
Capital Brain, San Mateo, California, USA, and
China Martin, Alicia Becker and Nathaniel Derrick
Saint Marys College of California, Moraga, California, USA
Purpose The goal of this paper is to present a roadmap for real estate operating companies (REOCs) to
transform themselves into tech-centric enterprises.
Design/methodology/approach This qualitative approach is based on the impact of technology on
physical real estate assets and organisational structures as reviewed in industry and academic literature,
professional experience and current property technology (PropTech) applications.
Findings Newtechnologies are rapidlychanging how investors,tenants andmanagers use, investand finance
property. Therevolutionary change for the industry will be in its organisational and industry structure,away
from the traditionalhierarchical-mechanistic form to a virtual open-agile-innovativeorganisational form.
Research limitations/implications Research limitations come from the lack of real estate companies
utilising the hybrid flipped form of organisational structures.
Practical implications Due to the current state of the economy, effects of the pandemic and rapid adoption
of new technologies, real estate companies are likely to radically change the way they are organised, how they
add value, innovate and their leadership/management style.
Social implications The revolution in real estate technologisation will not come from the application of
these technologies but the rapid change in ideological thought and management leadership style and culture.
Originality/value The introduction of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), blockchain, virtual
reality, tablets, cell phones, applications, 5G, etc. is putting pressure on real estate organisations to change.
These changes are long overdue and the future, modern real estate company will take a hybrid PropTech
form a company focussed on delivering high-quality products and services to its clients in real time.
Keywords Management, Technology, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, Institutional investment,
Paper type Conceptual paper
The technological revolution in real estate will not come from adoption of individu al
technologies but from adoption of the radical thought. Thomas Kuhn (1962) wrote in The
Structure of Scientific Revolutions about the reality of how we exist as managers in
established (management) paradigms and how these paradigms are consta ntly under
pressure to change due to external (social/economic/te chnological) and internal (behavioural/
cultural/psychological) forces. Kuhn believed that if managers are not cognisant of these
This paper forms part of a special section Practice Briefing, guest edited by Dr Larry Wofford,
Dr David Wyman, Dr Elaine Worzala.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 4 December 2020
Revised 5 December 2020
Accepted 5 December 2020
Journal of Property Investment &
Vol. 39 No. 2, 2021
pp. 170-177
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPIF-12-2020-0137

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