Trends and Challenges to the Development of a Lean Culture Among Uk Construction Organisations

Saad Sarhan1 & Andrew Fox2

1Postgraduate Civil Engineer, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, United Kingdom, Tel: +447961757059, sarhan_com@hotmail.com
2Lecturer in Civil Engineering, School of Marine Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Tel: +441752586120, andrew.fox@plymouth.ac.uk

Abstract

Lean construction efforts could prove to be highly rewarding for the UK construction industry, but there is a lack of experiential research to demonstrate how lean thinking principles are diffused and enacted by organizations to successfully attain the promised rewards. Building upon established conceptual frameworks, this study sought to identify how lean concepts are being enacted and reveal trends in the development of a lean culture among UK construction organisations. A theoretical framework, incorporating soft and hard aspects of lean was adopted for the research and formed the basis for a questionnaire survey. The study targeted practitioners in the UK construction industry and the data obtained was clustered into six classifications to allow trends and contrasting views to be determined. Results revealed that although there seems to be positive trends in the development of a lean culture amongst UK construction organisations, but there is still a significant lack of understanding of how to successfully apply lean thinking principles to specific construction processes and activities. Analysis of the results also identified a number of structural and cultural barriers that are hindering progress towards the successful implementation of LC in the UK. The paper concludes with proposals to overcome barriers to the successful adoption of lean thinking and provides recommendations for future research.

Keywords

Lean thinking, Culture, Collaboration, Barriers, Strategy for success

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Reference

Sarhan, S. & Fox, A. 2012, 'Trends and Challenges to the Development of a Lean Culture Among Uk Construction Organisations' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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