Solving design management problems using lean design management: the role of trust

Petteri Uusitalo (Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)
Olli Seppänen (Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)
Antti Peltokorpi (Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)
Hylton Olivieri (Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 19 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Although prior studies have noted the importance of trust for project performance, research remains scant on describing the role of trust when using lean design management (LDM) in projects. The purpose of this paper is to explore the connection between LDM and interpersonal trust in solving construction projects’ design management problems.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study was conducted that included 29 trust- and LDM-themed semi-structured interviews in the USA (California), Brazil and Finland; 11 focus group discussions were also organized to validate the interview findings.

Findings

The study reveals how LDM contributes to solving design management problems through two distinct but interconnected mechanisms: improved information flow; and improved trust among project team members. A conceptual framework was crafted to illustrate the mechanisms in building trust by means of the social domain of LDM concepts.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual framework requires testing through an international survey or through multiple case studies.

Practical implications

The results indicate that design management would benefit from trustful environments and that trust may be the catalyst for actors’ engagement with LDM. Managers in charge of design within projects can use the conceptual framework when selecting the appropriate LDM tools, which should include both the social and technical domains.

Originality/value

The study emphasizes the importance of the social domain of LDM concepts. Previous studies have focussed on information flow aspects of LDM but have overlooked the value of interpersonal trust in solving design management problems.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research described in this paper was supported by members of the Building 2030 consortium. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of members of Building 2030 consortium.

Citation

Uusitalo, P., Seppänen, O., Peltokorpi, A. and Olivieri, H. (2019), "Solving design management problems using lean design management: the role of trust", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 26 No. 7, pp. 1387-1405. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-03-2018-0135

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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