Meta-Organization: the Future for the Lean Organization

Paulo de Tarso Soubhie Napolitano1 & Fernando Cerveró-Romero2

1Director of Learning for Herrero Contractors Inc. 2100 Oakdale Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124, USA, Phone +1 (415) 8247675 [email protected]
2Lecturer at School of Building Engineering, Department of Architectural Constructions, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Phone +34 636548839, [email protected]


Lean companies’ growing difficulty to detect their customers’ needs and values are rendered even more complex by their constantly changing economic, social, political, technology and cultural contexts. In no few cases, the companies’ adaptability and reacting strategies are much lower than expected to cope with such circumstances. The implementation of meta-organizational strategies within lean companies aims at improving their core working systems by means of integrating a number of firms within an individual one. As a company made up of a myriad of different companies, meta-organizational tactics enable an accurate discernment and identification of inner and external issues so as to provide a holistic vision of the context and a more qualified response to occasional problems. This paper is based upon a case study resulting from three years’ work conducted at a lean construction company based in the US. The work carried out by the company exemplifies the transition from a classic lean firm to one incorporating 41 different companies as a token of the meta-organizational system. In this sense, we will attend to the Meta-Organization Engine concept®; the inner structure of metaorganization companies; the use of lean philosophy for the generation of metaorganization systems; the communications Matrix developed; and the benefits of such implementation. We will conclude by stating that meta-organization systems have provided a better contextual knowledge of the environment. Furthermore we will show how this new interdependence between companies has entailed the increase of their business opportunities. The company studied will help us understand how it has become the core of meta-organization by sharing its innovation through the implementation of lean strategies.


Lean construction, value.



Napolitano, P. T. S. & Cerveró-Romero, F. 2012. Meta-Organization: the Future for the Lean Organization, 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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