The Impact of Path Dependencies on Lean Implementation Within a Construction Company

Nicola Morrey1, Christine Pasquire2 & Andrew Dainty3

1Nicola Morrey, Research Engineer, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, N.Morrey@lboro.ac.uk
2Dr, C, L Pasquire, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, Phone 01509 222895 C.L.Pasquire@lboro.ac.uk
3Professor, A.R.J Dainty, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, Phone 01509 228742 A.R.J.Dainty@lboro.ac.uk

Abstract

The effect path dependency has on a lean implementation is being investigated using a major UK construction company as a case study. This paper describes the nature of the issues arising from path dependency and presents the preliminary findings. Path dependency refers to the idea that events and decisions that have taken place in the past continue to influence current decisions and ways of working. Concerning the implementation of lean, path dependencies would be in existence if a company‘s ability to improve processes, learn and innovate were constrained by policies, technologies, relationships and strategies from the past. The case study Company has recently developed a number of tools (ways of working) that it is trying to standardise across the business. This is akin to the standardised work that might be seen in a lean production environment. The assumption under consideration for this project is that path dependencies exist within the case study company that are influencing and constraining its ability to implement change. Following from this, it is proposed that understanding these path dependencies will enable them to be overcome, or capitalised upon, and that such an analysis of path dependencies is a useful diagnostic tool for lean implementation.

Keywords

Path dependency, Lean, Standardised work, Lean implementation.

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Reference

Morrey, N. , Pasquire, C. & Dainty, A. 2010, 'The Impact of Path Dependencies on Lean Implementation Within a Construction Company' In:, Walsh, K. & Alves, T., 18th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Haifa, Israel, 14-16 Jul 2010. pp 425-434

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