Using boundary objects to generate better value in the construction industry : interpreting cases from an activity theory perspective

Forgues, D 2008, Using boundary objects to generate better value in the construction industry : interpreting cases from an activity theory perspective , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Value generation in construction is about meeting client requirements. Problems in handling client requirements within fragmented practices in sequential design and contractual arrangements are widely recognized. Some authors suggest reconfiguring project coalitions around integrated teams to overcome this problem. Little is said, however, about the impact of adopting this new form of work in traditional design practice, processes and tools, and about possible socio-cognitive barriers that may hinder the collaborative work of design professionals, clients and users. It is argued that integrated teams is a new form of work that requires revisiting clients' and experts' roles and relationships - rethinking existing design practices. The aim of the research is to improve the ability of integrated teams to maximize value generation. It builds on activity theory to investigate the dynamics of integrated teams in construction. This theory explores how members of an activity system articulate and achieve the activity purpose. Recent research in activity theory suggests the opportunity to use boundary objects for breaking down socio-cognitive barriers in activities involving a group of people coming from different practices - project coalitions - and having different tools, language, rules and knowledge. Boundary objects are objects that are shared across different problem-solving contexts, objects that work to establish a shared context that "sits in the middle." It is contended that boundary objects can be used to cross boundaries between these fragmented practices. The objective of the research is to develop and test the use of boundary objects such as requirement management tools in the context of integrated teams and organisations in order to improve value generation. The research demonstrates the value of using boundary objects for increasing the efficiency of project coalition in delivering better value. They were successfully used first to break knowledge barriers between users and design professionals for the design of a sustainable construction, second to improve practices for managing a complex construction programme.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Koskela, L (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2021 09:10
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:20

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