Divergent Focus in the Application of Lean Ideas: Examples From Denmark and California

Bo Jørgensen1, Stephen Emmitt2 & Glenn Ballard3

1M.Sc. (Eng.), Ph.D. student—Technical University of Denmark, Department of Civil Engineering, DTU Building 115, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark. Phone: +45 4525 5149, BOJ@byg.dtu.dk
2Professor, Ph.D. - Technical University of Denmark, Department of Civil Engineering, DTU Building 115, DK- 2800 Lyngby, Denmark. Phone: +45 4525 1660, SE@byg.dtu.dk
3Associate Adjunct Professor - University of California at Berkeley, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, 214 McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley, CA 94702, USA. Phone: +1 510 530 8656, ballard@ce.berkeley.edu

Abstract

Through different conceptual initiatives lean construction has entered many construction environments around the world and is now an established and widely recognised approach to the management of construction activities. The adoption of the lean philosophy has taken, and continues to take place, under different social, organisational and structural conditions. These contextual factors are reflected in different issues being emphasised through the local application of lean ideas. A phenomenon illustrated in this paper with examples drawn from Denmark and California. One concern coming out of the case study material is that early lean construction initiatives may become locally institutionalised. Rigid perceptions and practice of lean construction could, arguably, constitute an impediment to future development. Collaboration between academia and practitioners can support local dissemination of insight gained in foreign environments. This may enhance future development on a practical level and hence help actors in the construction process to implement and benefit from current good practice over the longer term.

Keywords

Application strategies; Culture, Institutionalism; Organisational change

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Reference

Jørgensen, B. , Emmitt, S. & Ballard, G. 2005, 'Divergent Focus in the Application of Lean Ideas: Examples From Denmark and California' In:, 13th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Sydney, Australia, 19-21 Jul 2005. pp 395-403

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