Linguistic Action: Contributing to the Theory of Lean Construction

Hal Macomber1 & Gregory A. Howell2

1Partner, Lean Project Consulting, 36 Kirkland Drive, Andover, MA 01810. [email protected]
2Executive Director, Lean Construction Institute, Box 1003, Ketchum, ID. 83340. [email protected]


Lean Construction springs from the failure of current project management and opens the door to significant reform. Lauri Koskela has identified the inadequate conceptual foundations of current practices in terms of both management and the project, and the resulting calls for reform offer new hope for a stagnant discipline. Lean Construction, inspired by the Toyota Production System, has applied principles drawn from production management to the design of project-based production systems. This paper argues that linguistic action contributes an essential addition to the theory of the project and management. The theory of linguistic action describes the very human processes, the purposeful ways people communicate, by which projects are conceived and delivered. This theory provides a coherent conceptual foundation for the design of the lean project delivery system and its management.


Lean Construction, theory, linguistic action, project management, production system design.



Macomber, H. & Howell, G. A. 2003. Linguistic Action: Contributing to the Theory of Lean Construction, 11th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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