Where does the Theory Informing the International Group for Lean Construction Come From?

Christine Pasquire1 & Piers Connor2

1Professor, School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU UK +44 115 848 2895 [email protected]
2Managing Director, PRC Rail Consulting Ltd, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough, Leics LE12 5NH UK, +44 1509 670690 [email protected]


Within the community of Lean construction, as represented by the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC), some recent discussions about Lean construction theory have questioned the base upon which the theory has been developed. The question asks whether the sources upon which the theory has been based were generated from within the community or from outside. Some fears were expressed that the theory was being developed largely internally, without drawing in enough new ideas or recent thinking from the wider academic and industrial community. This paper attempts to clarify the basis for the debate by enumerating the references used to generate Lean construction theory within the IGLC conference papers and to offer some conclusions that will assist in informing the debate. The analysis identifies the leaders in the development of Lean construction theory and confirms that their work is referred to outside the IGLC community. The research confirmed that the level of referencing from sources published outside the IGLC conferences was in fact high; however, the paper raises concerns about the quality of the sources used and the lack of new thinking being generated. There was no intention to look outside the IGLC forum or to attempt to define any aspect of Lean construction theory the research was merely a counting exercise to ascertain the flow of references and theory sources.


IGLC, development, theory, papers, conferences, references, citations



Pasquire, C. & Connor, P. 2011, 'Where does the Theory Informing the International Group for Lean Construction Come From?' In:, Rooke, J. & Dave, B., 19th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lima, Peru, 13-15 Jul 2011.

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