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The power of stories in the construction industry: lessons from other domains

Jodith K.L. Leung (Department of Building & Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Patrick S.W. Fong (Department of Building & Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

VINE

ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 15 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Storytelling is regarded as a fundamental way for humans to communicate with each other, no matter whether in the form of folklore, myths or war stories. Storytelling is applied in management and organisational practices in order to achieve specific purposes. Management activities within projects are similar to managing organisations with high complexity. Storytelling can then be applied in the construction project environment to achieve specific management purposes. This paper aims to explore the potential roles of storytelling in the construction industry through analysing its applications in other sectors, and to align the applications of storytelling to construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an in‐depth literature review of the nature of stories and storytelling, and their roles in management and organisational practices, this study determines how stories can contribute to the effective sharing of knowledge in the construction project environment. Cases of storytelling applications in construction projects are also presented, with the aim of showing the uniqueness of storytelling.

Findings

Storytelling is a potential approach for managing construction project knowledge through the features of stories and storytelling by preserving, transferring, and learning from current or past experiences of both construction projects and firms.

Research limitations/implications

The findings illustrate gaps in the current knowledge and pave the path for future research in this particular area.

Originality/value

The research examines promising implementations of stories and storytelling in the construction industry through examination of the literature.

Keywords

Citation

Leung, J.K.L. and Fong, P.S.W. (2011), "The power of stories in the construction industry: lessons from other domains", VINE, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 466-482. https://doi.org/10.1108/03055721111188548

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited