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The adoption of Toyota Way principles in large Chinese construction firms

Gao Shang (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Low Sui Pheng (Department of Building, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 21 September 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

Since lean thinking has begun to be successfully implemented in manufacturing, the concept and its associated principles have become increasingly popular in the construction industry. The purpose of this research is to present an empirical study of the Toyota Way model in China's construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results of a study conducted in China using a questionnaire survey to examine the extent to which the Toyota Way principles have been adopted by large Chinese construction firms. A total of 93 Chinese building professionals participated in the survey in China.

Findings

The Toyota Way is the “mother platform” of lean thinking, cutting across operational improvement strategies, people management, proactive problem‐solving approaches, and organizational culture elements. The results show some encouraging findings, in that a number of actionable attributes derived from Toyota Way principles have been adopted at least to some extent. However, implementing firms may still be subject to falling into the same traps and making the same implementation “mistakes” as have been seen elsewhere, as they often deployed this comprehensive management model in less than systematic ways.

Originality/value

The results also indicate that all the Toyota Way attributes were perceived as important by the respondents. The focus of the study is to discuss those attributes perceived as being highly important, yet less implemented. It is suggested that direct efforts and resources are needed to enhance these practices at the beginning. The results are also discussed in connection with their possible implications and suggestions for further research.

Keywords

Citation

Shang, G. and Sui Pheng, L. (2012), "The adoption of Toyota Way principles in large Chinese construction firms", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 291-316. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468771311325185

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited