Is Lean Construction Another Fading Management Concept?

Rolf Simonsen1, Mikael Hygum Thyssen2 & Dag Sander3

1Secretariat Manager, Ph.D., Value Creating Construction Processes, Denmark, [email protected]
2Consultant, Ph.D., NIRAS, Denmark, [email protected]
3Consultant, Grontmij, Denmark, [email protected]


Management concepts tend to fade away within a relatively short period of time. After a few years the news value declines, the “gurus” disappear, difficulties in realizing the expected gains are recognized, and new management concepts take over. This paper brings attention to the simple question: How is it possible to sustain interest in Lean Construction? Drawing on literature describing the typical life-cycle of management concepts, the journey of Lean Construction and Lean Construction Institute (LCI) in Danish construction is used as a case. LCI Denmark (LCI-DK) was established in 2002 as the first chapter outside of the USA and may therefore be ahead in regards of concept life-cycle to other LCI chapters around the world. It is argued that a revitalization is needed in Denmark if Lean Construction is to overcome the typical life-cycle of other previous management concepts. This leads to a discussion of implementation barriers and challenges to keeping Lean Construction alive, and how to overcome them. The aim is to spur a discussion that may benefit all who are struggling with implementation barriers or find themselves in a post-interest era.


Management concepts, Implementation, Barriers



Simonsen, R. , Thyssen, M. H. & Sander, D. 2014. Is Lean Construction Another Fading Management Concept?, 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 85-96.

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