Doing Lean Construction and Talking About Lean Construction

David Seymour1, John Rooke2 & Darryll Crook3

1David Seymour is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham. His current interests include the impact of TQM, process reengineering, lean construction, culture and the role of theory in construction.
2John Rooke is a Research Associate in the School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham with interest in applying ethnomethodologically-informed ethnographic research techniques to construction.
3Darryll Crook is currently reading for a Ph.D. in the School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham and is concerned with methodological issues in construction management, focusing on the social interaction of managers in construction.

Abstract

For the ideas and practices of Lean Construction (LC) to be successfully disseminated, effective communication is at a premium. This communication takes place in various contexts: workshops, seminars, conferences, and ‘out there’, in the industry. Conventionally, a number of distinctions, the most common of which is one between theorising and practice, are used to characterise what goes on in these different settings. We suggest that, when we wish to address cultural phenomena like LC praxis (theory/practice), where the communication of what it is we mean plays such a vital role, such distinctions are misleading and give rise to much confusion. Instead, therefore, we propose that statements about LC, which might be assumed to have a distinct theoretical or abstract status, be seen as a kind of act and be treated as any other kind of act. In other words, we will suggest that talk about LC, whether this be referred to as theorising, explaining or describing and practice (doing LC) should be conceived of as essentially the same kinds of activity.

Keywords

lean construction, communication

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Reference

Seymour, D. , Rooke, J. & Crook, D. 1997, 'Doing Lean Construction and Talking About Lean Construction ' In: & Tucker, S.N., 5th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Gold Coast, Australia, 16-17 Jul 1997. pp 53-62

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