Why Visual Management?

Lauri Koskela, Algan Tezel, Patricia Tzortzopoulos

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

27 Citations (Scopus)


From early on, visual management (VM) has been an intrinsic ingredient of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and its derivatives like lean production. Akin to the evolution of most other parts of the TPS, it has been developed through practitioner efforts rather than being propelled by theoretical insights. Recently, scholars have started to create a theoretical knowledge base for VM. Besides taxonomies of visual devices and their functions, there is only one fully fledged theory of VM, based on the concept of affordance. It is contended here that the scholarly field of visual management has been too narrowly defined. In fact, research on (or bearing on) visual devices has been carried out in several other, mostly small fields, often with little mutual awareness. A review on the theoretical explanation of VM is provided, based on this wider literature. The concept of affordance has been used in this context already in early 1990s. This focuses attention especially to the human cognitive capabilities and corresponding features of visual devices. Generally, VM is argued to provide a more rapid and reliable mode of communication in comparison to traditional alternatives. VM is thus compatible with the lean tenets of time compression and variability reduction. This explains its central role in lean production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication26th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction
Subtitle of host publicationEvolving Lean Construction Towards Mature Production Management Across Cultures and Frontiers
EditorsVicente A. Gonzalez
Place of PublicationChennai, India
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789380689296
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018
Event26th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction: Evolving Lean Construction - Towards Mature Production Across Cultures and Frontiers - Chennai, India
Duration: 16 Jul 201822 Jul 2018
Conference number: 26
http://iglc2018.com/ (Link to Conference Website)


Conference26th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction
Abbreviated titleIGLC 2018
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Why Visual Management?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this