The TFV Theory of Production: New developments

Lauri Koskela, John Rooke, Sven Bertelsen, Guilherme Henrich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims at reporting new developments in the understanding of the TFV (Transformation-Flow-Value generation) theory of production. This theory identifies three interdependent angles to production: transformation (achieved by resources workers, machines, etc.) oriented (T), materials oriented (F) and customer oriented (V). Fundamental ontological differences in the presuppositions of the three sub theories are pinpointed. In particular, the transformation theory subscribes to thing metaphysics, whilst the value generation theory is based on process metaphysics. It is suggested that for achieving an internal alignment among the sub theories, two different understandings should be distinguished: thing-metaphysics based (TFV)t and process metaphysics based (TFV)p. It is shown that the three different sub theories have often in practice been interpreted according to (TFV)t. However, the fundamental problems associated to this understanding are also pinpointed, and the limited range of application of (TFV)t is noted. In the consideration of (TFV)p, especially the transformation theory has to be reinterpreted as a processual conceptualization. It is suggested, following a hint from Shingo, that transformations equate to work. It is suggested that the traditional command and control (or management-as-planning) mode is in coherence with the (TFV)t theory. Unfortunately, this mode of control amplifies the conceptual shortcomings of the (TFV)t, and it has been found to be inefficient in practice. Instead, for (TFV)p, more holistic modes of control are needed. An initial exploration of control coherent with the (TFV)p conceptualization is made.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC15)
Subtitle of host publicationLean Construction: A New Paradigm for Managing Capital Projects
EditorsChristine Pasquire, Patricia Tzortzopoulos
PublisherThe International Group for Lean Construction
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781427622792
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction - East Lansing, United States
Duration: 18 Jul 200720 Jul 2007
Conference number: 15

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction
PublisherInternational Group for Lean Construction (IGLC)
ISSN (Print)2309-0979
ISSN (Electronic)2789-0015


Conference15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction
Abbreviated titleIGLC15
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityEast Lansing


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