My wikipedia user page is here
I have chosen to evaluate the Wikipedia article on the Swedish construction company Skanska as I spent 6 happy years working there (and also met my wife there!)
Skanska’s wikipedia article is important for many of the company’s stakeholders- it is the 3rd ranked result on a google search for ‘Skanska’ and the first ‘independent’ result (ie not a company website.)
The Wikipedia article on Skanska was created in May 2003 and has had 244 edits. 54 of theses edits came from a user called ‘Dormskirk’ – and expert in financial and military history with many wikipedia awards and over 100000 edits. The article has at times been edited by employees of the company, but they are in the minority. Edits peaked in 2009. The page has c. 120 average daily views.
The article has 3 headings: History, Operations and Major Projects. There is also a parallel Swedish language article with more detailed information on operations.
The article provides basic information on the company e.g. number of employees, turnover, current leadership, history, markets and some key projects. The article however, lacks valuable context-setting and detail under its headings, which would be valuable information for users of the article e.g. customers, potential employees, investors and other partners.
Examples of missing information include:
- Details of some of the historic projects that Skanska was involved in e.g. repairing pyramids in Egypt, large infrastructure projects in many parts of the world in the 70s and 80s.
- Details of the type of work carried out in home markets e.g. infrastructure vs residential vs commercial operations. This is not currently clear.
- More concrete examples of high profile ground-breaking ‘green’ projects
- Details of geographic expansion and acquisition of companies over the years (this is somewhat piecemeal in the article)
Of interest, Skanska has been involved in several controversies over the years, and only one of these is mentioned in the English language version (the Argentinian gas pipeline case.) These controversies are particularly difficult to handle as, whilst important, they may place excessive focus on specific incidents.
The majority of the 27 sources are from mainstream (e.g. New York Times, The Telegraph, Economist) and industry press (e.g. Skyscrapernews, ENR.) These must be considered reasonably reliable sources. Information on the company’s history is sourced from the Skanska website, which is not independent but arguably reliable.
The article handles the Argentinian scandal in a reasonably unbiased way, citing four different reputable sources, with good geographic spread.
Overall the article is unbiased and factual, which is noteworthy given the temptation for many companies to use the Wikipedia article as marketing material.
The scandal in Argentina is particularly challenging to present in an unbiased way, especially since it attracted a lot of political attention in Argentina and Sweden:
“In 2005, Skanska was awarded a gas pipeline contract in Argentina, and later, suspicions were raised that government corruption had been involved. Skanska performed its own investigation, dismissed seven managers, and worked closely with the authorities concerning the inquiry”
This text is reasonably unbiased, and presents a positive view of Skanska’s response “….worked closely with the authorities concerning the inquiry.” The sources cited also provide more nuanced information on the different interpretations of the incident.
The article is largely a list of unrelated historic events in the company’s history and major projects. Further prose providing more context would make it far more readable. It would also benefit from further sub-headings- for example, a separate section on sustainability, for which Skanska has received a lot of media coverage over the years.
Formatting and Illustrations
There are no obvious deviations from the Wikipedia manual of style. The article is not well illustrated (only 1 picture) and could be enhanced with further pictures of projects (particularly high-profile historic projects) and a map of geographic presence.