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Producing things or production flows? Ontological assumptions in the thinking of managers and professionals in construction

Rooke, JA, Koskela, LJ and Seymour, D 2007, 'Producing things or production flows? Ontological assumptions in the thinking of managers and professionals in construction' , Construction Management and Economics, 25 (10) , pp. 1077-1085.

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    Abstract

    New approaches to production management can be conceptualized as treating production as flow rather than transformation. These alternatives can in turn be regarded as reflecting opposing ontological positions, holding respectively that reality is constituted of temporal process, or atemporal substance. The new production philosophy thus arguably represents a process ontology radically different from the atemporal metaphysics underlying conventional methods and theories. Moreover, research in physics education has identified the disjunction between ontological categories of 'substance' and 'process' as a particularly acute barrier to understanding process phenomena. Studies are presented which demonstrate the possibility of specifying and classifying mental models, with regard to two important management solutions in construction. Thus, procedures typically adopted in Quantity Surveying and the implementation of Structural Engineering Design are examined. Methods of measurement used in Quantity Surveying are designed to account primarily for physical, rather than temporal properties. In design, the emphasis is on representing properties of finished structures, rather than the construction processes. The process is then managed by treating the design and its execution as separate products. It is argued here that alternative, more effective management solutions are derived from a process ontology.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Decision making; indexicality; learning; lean construction; management theory; metaphysics; ontological categories
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TH Building construction
    Built and Human Environment
    Schools: 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: Users 29196 not found.
    Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 14:47
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:01
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2577

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