Institutional waste within the construction industry: an outline

Sarhan, Saad and Pasquire, Christine and King, Andrew (2014) Institutional waste within the construction industry: an outline. In: 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction, 25 - 27 Jun 2014, Oslo, Norway.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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Abstract

Waste, as understood in Lean thinking, does not feature in modern construction economics or management theory. These approaches fail to recognise the imperfect systems in which entities not only operate inefficiently, but additionally protect themselves by adding contingency and behaving opportunistically. The effect of these practices is to embed inefficient and wasteful processes across the supply chain and throughout the project life cycle. Consequently they have become part of the institution of the construction industry, 'the way it does business'. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of waste in construction and shed light on a number of regulations, norms and routines, which are taken for granted and impede efficiency and improvement efforts in construction. It starts by critically discussing a number of imperfect systems and structures that support wasteful activities in construction. Next, the background of the institutional theory is introduced, which interestingly is not well established in construction management literature. We then demonstrate how the neo-institutional theory, a branch of organizational sociology, has the potential to be used as an analytical lens to deliver a more explicit theory of waste relating cause and effect within the wider aspects of construction systems and relationships. Finally, an outline of the concept of 'institutional waste in construction' is defined, and five tentative guiding hypotheses are specified for future empirical examination.

Additional Information:This paper was selected for for 'Plenary Sessions' of the 22nd Annual Conference of the IGLC in Norway - Only 9 papers out of 160 accepted papers were selected for the plenaries, rather than parallel sessions.
Keywords:Waste, Institutional theory, Systems, Structures, Norms, Culture
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K220 Construction Management
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:28859
Deposited On:03 Oct 2017 08:54

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