Organizational Power in Building Design Management

Vegard Knotten1, Fredrik Svalestuen2, Ola Lædre3 & Geir K. Hansen4

1PhD Candidate/ Design Manager NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology/ Veidekke Entreprenør, Trondheim, Norway, +4791842758,
2PhD candidate / Site Manager NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology / Veidekke Entreprenør, Trondheim, Norway, +4798673172,
3Assistant Professor, NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, +4791189938,
4Professor, NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, +4795135520,


In every new building project, there usually is a new organization assembled that needs to function as a team. The organization will vary through the project. This paper analyses the organizational sources of power in the design phase, using 14 main sources of power in organizations as described by Morgan (2006). The methodical approach of this paper is a single case study, with interviews of participants in the building design phase who describe their experience with the sources of power in building design. The aim of this pilot study is to learn more about how the sources of power appear in the building design process. Much has been written about how power works in static organizations but less in the context of building design teams and how this affects the design process. This paper contributes with new empirical research. The key finding is that the sources can be regarded as strength, a challenge or a threat to the design process. This knowledge can be used for the design manager to set up a design process. To enhance the sources that strengthen and to diminish the sources that threaten the process, a more efficient design process can be achieved, increasing value and reducing waste.


Design management, organizational power, value, process, last planner



Knotten, V. , Svalestuen, F. , Lædre, O. & Hansen, G.K. 2015, 'Organizational Power in Building Design Management' In:, Seppänen, O., González, V.A. & Arroyo, P., 23rd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Perth, Australia, 29-31 Jul 2015. pp 763-772

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