Implementing Lean Construction - A Practice Perspective

Lena E. Bygballe1 & Anna Swärd2

1Associate professor, Centre for the Construction Industry, BI Norwegian Business School, +47 46 41 04 59, [email protected]
2Researcher, Centre for the Construction Industry, BI Norwegian Business School, +47 46 41 04 64, [email protected]


This study uses a practice perspective to examine how lean project practices are implemented in construction firms. Implementing lean construction has proved to yield significant performance benefits. Nevertheless, implementation challenges continue to intrigue practitioners and academics alike. The study is based on a case of a construction firm, which is involved in implementing a lean project practice. Using a practice perspective allows us to capture the constitutive relationship between what actors within this firm actually do when they engage in the activities of lean construction, and the structural properties of the lean construction concept. The findings show that the lean project practice is implemented through an enactment and learning process that over time enables the practice to be created and recreated across the internal and external project organization. Implementing this new lean project practice is an ongoing process, through which the practice is translated and transformed by the actors engaged in the activities of using and implementing it. The paper contributes to the understanding of implementing lean construction by showing that such an implementation process will never be ‘finished’. Instead it is an ongoing learning and enactment process that involves both internal and external actors.


Lean construction, implementation, practice, enactment, learning



Bygballe, L. E. & Swärd, A. 2014. Implementing Lean Construction - A Practice Perspective, 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 3-14.

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