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Bygballe, L E, Endresen, M and Fålun, S (2018) The role of formal and informal mechanisms in implementing lean principles in construction projects. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 25(10), 1322–38.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Innovation; Construction; Case study;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0969-9988
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2017-0138
  • Abstract:
    Previous research shows that implementing lean construction is not a straightforward task. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of formal and informal mechanisms in implementing lean principles in construction projects. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on a single case study of the implementation of innovative lean principles in a public construction project in Norway. The study is based on qualitative data, including 17 semi-structured interviews with 21 individuals, document analysis, and observations in meetings and seminars, in addition to informal conversations. Findings Formal mechanisms, including contractual arrangements, have the potential to both facilitate and hamper the implementation of innovative lean principles in a construction project. They might create coherence, but at the same time they might limit the scope of the concept in such a way that others do not accept it. Informal mechanisms, including social and lateral relationships and trust aid implementation, both directly by creating commitment and by modifying the challenges that the formal mechanisms potentially incur. Formal mechanisms may, in turn, nurture the informal ones. Research limitations/implications The research is based on a single case study within the Norwegian public sector, which is dependent on specific public procurement regulations and subject to strong contractual traditions. Originality/value The research extends the existing knowledge of implementation of lean construction in the construction industry. It helps refining the understanding of the role played by formal and informal mechanisms, and the interplay between them in the implementation process. This knowledge is also relevant for process innovations in construction in general.