Shaping Lean Construction in Project Based Organizations

Rolf Simonsen1 & Christian Koch2

1PhD Student, Danish Technological Institute (Lean Constuction-DK) / Technical University of Denmark, Phone: +45 7220 2251,
2Associate Professor, Technical University of Denmark, The Section for Planning and Management of Building Processes, Bygning 115, DK-2800 Lyngby, Phone: +45 4525 1649;


In this paper Lean Construction is viewed as a management concept and the journey into a construction company is viewed from four perspectives; social shaping, organizational politics, organisation theory and institutionalism. Common in those perseptives is that the management concept is socially constructed and negotiated. The journey of the concepts implies that they (and their surroundings) are changed during the implementation. It can therefore seldom be expected that two different domains would shape a concept in the same way. Also construction is a project-based industry. It has previously been shown how implementation of Lean Construction is a partly project specific process. This paper will present findings from ongoing empirical work in collaboration with a large Danish contractor. The work is related to the contractor's work with implementing Lean Construction in the company and how to implement it into the construction projects on site. It is discussed how certain actors have a mediating and communcating role between various communities in the company. We term these actos brokers. Lean Construction is shaped in this process, where also explicit and implicit stregies and cultures of the organization interact with the concept and its brokers. Projects are crucial units in a contractor's organisation, which play a partly independent role in the enterprise organisation. It is analysed how Lean Construction is changed when adapted on construction projects as results of the organisation's implementation strategy(ies), the will and skill of the project managers and other factors.


Lean Constructio, Brokers, Social Shaping, Project Implementation, Management Concept



Simonsen, R. & Koch, C. 2004, 'Shaping Lean Construction in Project Based Organizations' In:, Bertelsen, S. & Formoso, C.T., 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Helsingør, Denmark, 3-5 Aug 2004.

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