Social Network Analysis of Information Flow in an IPD-Project

Gernot Hickethier1, Iris D. Tommelein2 & Baris Lostuvali3

1Research Fellow and Doctoral Candidate, Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Am Fasanengarten Geb. 50.31, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany, Phone +49 721 608- 44124, [email protected]
2Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and Director of the Project Production Systems Laboratory (, 212 McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, Phone +1 (510) 643-8678, [email protected]
3Senior Project Manager, Cathedral Hill Hospital Project, HerreroBoldt, San Francisco, CA, [email protected]


Lean Construction recommends concurrent development of product and process by bringing Last Planners into the design phase. While this approach offers opportunities to reduce downstream waste and improve value generation, it increases coordination complexity during design due to the increased number of participants in the design team. In large projects, this increased number of participants can demand a multi- team structure with roles and mechanisms to coordinate the work between teams. In a case study we document the coordination mechanisms of a design organization on a large-scale construction project, being delivered under an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) type contract, the Integrated Form of Agreement (IFOA). We conduct a Social Network Analysis (SNA) of information flow between people on the project, who work in a big-room environment. Analysis of this IPD-based social network with indices of degree centrality, betweenness centrality, and clustering, yields the following results: (1) the Chief Engineer and leaders of cross-functional teams play key roles in the coordination between teams, (2) people take on coordination jobs, even if it is not part of their formal role, and (3) IPD projects foster cross-functional collaboration. We conclude the paper with managerial recommendations for the efficient and effective coordination of IPD-based design project organizations and ideas for future research


Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Integrated Form of Agreement (IFOA), Design Management, Information Flow, Social Network Analysis, Organizational Structuring



Hickethier, G. , Tommelein, I. D. & Lostuvali, B. 2013. Social Network Analysis of Information Flow in an IPD-Project, 21th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 319-328.

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