On a Road to Promises That Work

Martin Cleary1, John Rooke2 & Lauri Koskela3

1PhD Candidate, Phone +44 161 2956833, Email [email protected]
2Senior Research Fellow, Phone +44 161 2954143, Email [email protected]
3Professor, Phone +44 161 2956378, Email [email protected] Salford Centre for Research and Innovation (SCRI) in the built and human environment, University of Salford, Maxwell Building, The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WT, UK Fax +44 161 2954587


This research into the applicability of ―Promise Based Management‖ in the UK construction sector examines the business side of construction as to where and how client and customer interact. A research opportunity to attend meetings and conduct interviews with clients and contractors on a major construction project in the North West of England gave first hand access to the various issues involved and enabled the researchers to draw some conclusions as to how promises are both a key to success in a construction project and indeed an enabling factor in how things get done in construction. Our focus is ―speech act theory‖ or the ―language action perspective‖ and its analysis of the way social cohesion is produced. Meetings were attended which were concerned with the planning and implementation of a contract and interviews were conducted with members of the client, main contractor and subcontractor teams. The initial findings point towards the necessary resilience of the sector and how successful project managers deal with the contingencies that arise and even on occasion work them to the advantage of the project and, of course, the company.


Ethnography, Language action perspective, Philosophy, Project management, Promise-based management.



Cleary, M. , Rooke, J. & Koskela, L. 2010. On a Road to Promises That Work, 18th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 366-385. doi.org/

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