Epistemological Explanation of Lean Construction

Lauri Koskela, Andrea Ferrantelli, Jarkko Niiranen, Ergo Pikas, Bhargav Dave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Toyota Production System, on which lean production is based, emerged as unplanned result of unrelated improvements and innovations. Although the related practices and principles are now widely reported, theories and philosophical premises underlying lean production are not commonly known. This applies also to lean construction, which, although originated as a set of countermeasures to the specific problems in construction, has more recently evolved in alignment with lean production. For example, there is a stark but unexplained contradiction between lean and traditional construction management model regarding the importance of learning and improvement. In view of this, the aim here is to determine the epistemological orientation in these two models. It is found that two different starting points for epistemology, Platonism and Aristotelianism, have played a major role also in the formation of fundamental ideas of engineering and management generally and in construction. An overly Platonic influence on engineering and management has created a number of problems. It is contended that one major explanation for the found benefits of lean construction is related to its Aristotelian epistemology.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management - ASCE
Volume145
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2018

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Innovation
Lean production
Lean construction
Epistemology
Countermeasures
Management model
Construction management
Toyota production system
Alignment

Cite this

Koskela, Lauri ; Ferrantelli, Andrea ; Niiranen, Jarkko ; Pikas, Ergo ; Dave, Bhargav. / Epistemological Explanation of Lean Construction. In: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management - ASCE. 2019 ; Vol. 145, No. 2.
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Epistemological Explanation of Lean Construction. / Koskela, Lauri; Ferrantelli, Andrea; Niiranen, Jarkko; Pikas, Ergo; Dave, Bhargav.

In: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management - ASCE, Vol. 145, No. 2, 02.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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