Implications of Action Theories to Lean Construction Applications

Bolivar A. Senior1

1Associate Professor, Construction Management Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80525-1584; email: [email protected]


Two models of Action Theory offer fundamentally different views of the merits and appropriate use of plans. While the Deliberative Action model considers plans as a necessary prerequisite for project execution, the Situated Action model offers an alternative view in which plans are intrinsically imperfect due to the limited information visible to any planning agent. This paper discusses these competing models, emphasizing their implications to Lean Construction and the construction project planning and execution process in general. Two current planning and execution paradigms are used to illustrate these issues, namely the Critical Path Method and the Last Planner System. The former is a prototypical Deliberative model technique, while the latter exemplifies a Lean Construction application with many Situated Action model features. This paper ends with a conclusion section discussing the implications of both models and recommendations for further research.


Lean Construction, Planning, Action Theory.



Senior, B. A. 2007. Implications of Action Theories to Lean Construction Applications, 15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 407-416.

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