Operations Strategy and –Innovation? -A Contractor Implementing Lean

Christian Koch, Rolf Simonsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Traditional strategic management and operations strategy wants us to believe that the implementation of management concepts is a simple strategic choice made by top managers. In this paper we introduce the story of Lean Construction entering into the organisation of a Danish contractor. Lean Construction is viewed as a management concept and the journey into the construction company witness not only that top management is very little involved, but also that the concept is negotiated and promoted by a number of actors and coalitions competing for attention and resources with a number of other concepts. The paper presents findings from empirical work in collaboration with a large Danish contractor. The case is analysed from the perspective of operation strategy and political process. It is observed how the management concept is socially constructed and negotiated through political action of key actors/brokers and coalitions. Lean Construction is shaped in the process of emergence in the organisation, where also explicit corporate strategies and other initiatives of the organization interact with the concept and the actors and coalitions surrounding it. It is analysed how Lean Construction as a management concept interact with people and coalitions within the organisation on its journey to being accepted as an embedded practice. It is argued that strategy should be replaced by governance of the gartnering type.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 22nd Annual ARCOM Conference
EditorsDavid Boyd
Number of pages1029
Place of PublicationBirmingham
PublisherARCOM, Association of Researchers in Construction Management
Publication date2006
ISBN (Print)0-9552390-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event22nd Conference Association of Researchers in Construction Management - University of Western England, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20066 Sep 2006
Conference number: 22


Conference22nd Conference Association of Researchers in Construction Management
LocationUniversity of Western England
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Lean Construction
  • Management Concepts
  • Political Process
  • Implementation

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