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Using the physical properties of artefacts to manage through-life knowledge flows in the built environment: an initial exploration

Rooke, CN, Rooke, JA, Koskela, LJ and Tzortzopoulos, P 2010, 'Using the physical properties of artefacts to manage through-life knowledge flows in the built environment: an initial exploration ' , Construction Management and Economics, 28 (6) , pp. 601-613.

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    Abstract

    Effective through-life management of built facilities requires effective through-life knowledge management to support it. The KIM (Immortal Information and Through-Life Knowledge Management) project attempted to develop such an approach, based on a dichotomy of knowledge and information. Knowledge is conceived in terms of communities of practice. An initial philosophical analysis demonstrates deficiencies in this conception. Drawing inspiration from production theory, a tripartite analysis is offered, suggesting that knowledge flows consist of: social practices, information and physical properties. Literature on physical properties from design studies, production management and ethnomethodology is briefly reviewed to demonstrate the information bearing functions of physical properties. Fieldwork conforming to the unique adequacy requirement of methods was carried out on construction sites, in hotel and hospital facilities during the use stage of their life cycles. Safety barriers on construction sites were found to have informational properties beyond their function as a physical barrier. The quality of information delivered by wayfinding signs was found to depend upon both the physical placement of the signs in relation to the surrounding environment and the physical layout of the sign itself. It was found that social practices are institutionalized to repair the knowledge flow when the physically instantiated wayfinding system breaks down. Finally, through the investigation of practices surrounding emergency resuscitation equipment, it was found that if the physical properties of information are not designed to mesh with the work practices of the setting, this will lead to a breakdown in the knowledge flow. It is suggested that elements of knowledge management, ethnomethodology, production management and design studies might be integrated to form the basis of a hybrid discipline.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Knowledge management; design; through-life management; ethnomethodology; production theory; product-service
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
    Subjects / Themes > G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
    Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
    Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
    Subjects / Themes > T Technology > T Technology (General)
    Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
    Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS155-194 Production management. Operations management
    Built and Human Environment
    Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment > Salford Centre for Research & Innovation (SCRI)
    Journal or Publication Title: Construction Management and Economics
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    ISSN: 0144-6193
    Depositing User: JA Rooke
    Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2010 15:54
    Last Modified: 18 Aug 2014 14:45
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/11300

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