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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Eloise Grove, Andrew Dainty, Derek Thomson and Tony Thorpe

The intra-organisational relationships of through-life support services providers are complex, especially given the multifaceted nature of the provision required. For…

Abstract

Purpose

The intra-organisational relationships of through-life support services providers are complex, especially given the multifaceted nature of the provision required. For example, capabilities within the UK highways maintenance arena must support engineering design, routine maintenance and the on-going management of the network. While collaboration in construction projects has formed a major research focus in recent years, there is a paucity of work examining collaboration in-flight.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a micro-practices approach, two contracts delivering highway infrastructure maintenance and renewal services are examined to explore the intra-organisational relationships that determine the quality of service delivered.

Findings

Despite the rhetoric of collaboration and integrated working that pervades the contemporary project discourse, there was a clear focus on addressing immediate technical and commercial concerns, rather than on creating the conditions for integrated working to flourish. On the occasions where the collaborative environment was prioritised, a more integrated service was delivered.

Originality/value

In contrast to other accounts of the ways collaborative working shapes performance, this research reveals an acute need for a sustained collaborative effort; as soon as “collaborative working” was normalised, the level of integration and seamlessness of service was diminished. This questions normative notions of what defines collaborative working in projects and suggests a need for re-framing it as an on-going accomplishment of actors involved. Such a perspective resonates with notions of “organizational becoming”, particularly in that attempts to foster collaboration are themselves constitutive of the unfolding and shifting nature of intra-organisational relationships that emerge in complex contractual arrangements.

Details

Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-4387

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

David A. Oloke, David J. Edwards and Tony A. Thorpe

Construction plant breakdown affects projects by prolonging duration and increasing costs. Therefore, prediction of plant breakdown, as a precursor to conducting timely…

Abstract

Construction plant breakdown affects projects by prolonging duration and increasing costs. Therefore, prediction of plant breakdown, as a precursor to conducting timely maintenance works, cannot be underestimated. This paper thus sought to develop a model for predicting plant breakdown time from a sequence of discrete plant breakdown measurements that follow non‐random orders. An ARIMA (1,1,0) model was constructed following experimentation with exponential smoothening. The model utilised breakdown observations obtained from six wheeled loaders that had operated a total of 14,467 hours spread over a 300‐week period. The performance statistics revealed MAD and RMSE of 5.03 and 5.33 percent respectively illustrating that the derived time series model is accurate in modelling the dependent variable. Also, the F‐statistics from the ANOVA showed that the type and frequency of fault occurrence as a predictor variable is significant on the model's performance at the five percent level. Future work seeks to consider a more in depth multivariate time series analyses and compare/contrast the results of such against other deterministic modelling techniques.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

JENNIFER WHYTE, DINO BOUCHLAGHEM and TONY THORPE

Organizational issues are inhibiting the implementation and strategic use of information technologies (IT) in the construction sector. This paper focuses on these issues…

Abstract

Organizational issues are inhibiting the implementation and strategic use of information technologies (IT) in the construction sector. This paper focuses on these issues and explores processes by which emerging technologies can be introduced into construction organizations. The paper is based on a case study, conducted in a major house building company that was implementing a virtual reality (VR) system for internal design review in the regional offices. Interviews were conducted with different members of the organization to explore the introduction process and the use of the system. The case study findings provide insight into the process of change, the constraints that inhibit IT implementation and the relationship between new technology and work patterns within construction organizations. They suggest that (1) user‐developer communications are critical for the successful implementation of non‐diffused innovations in the construction industry; and (2) successful uptake of IT requires both strategic decision‐making by top management and decision‐making by technical managers.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 9 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

TAREK M HASSAN, RON MCCAFFER and TONY THORPE

In recent years the Large Scale Engineering (LSE) construction sector in Europe has seen profound change. This is mainly due to increasing competitive pressures from the…

Abstract

In recent years the Large Scale Engineering (LSE) construction sector in Europe has seen profound change. This is mainly due to increasing competitive pressures from the United States and the Asian‐Pacific countries which has led in turn to increased pressures to improve competitiveness, productivity and client satisfaction. Lack of understanding of client's requirements hinders achieving such goals especially with the increasing trends of executing LSE projects in a ‘virtual enterprise’ environment. Different parties within the construction process need to understand and fulfil client's business and information requirements. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) vendors and developers also need to understand clients requirements of systems and to align their products to them. This paper reports on findings from a study within the eLSEwise project to identify the emerging clients' business and ICT needs within the LSE construction industry and to identify the changes in clients' relationships with the supply chain and the gaps in ICT provision.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Isao T Matsumoto, John Stapleton, Jacqueline Glass and Tony Thorpe

As we move into a knowledge economy, employee skills are fast becoming an organization’s most valuable asset. Fundamental to successfully completing the complex range of…

Abstract

As we move into a knowledge economy, employee skills are fast becoming an organization’s most valuable asset. Fundamental to successfully completing the complex range of tasks presented by construction projects is bringing together individuals with the correct balance of skills. No one individual has the complete set of skills to do everything themselves, which makes the team only as strong as its weakest link. Sponsored by a leading UK‐based engineering design consultancy, a specification for a technologically driven skills management system was developed. It allowed the organization, its teams and the employees, to better measure, manage and develop their skill capabilities effectively. Key issues addressed by the paper include how skill ability can be measured, how skills can be structured, and how these measurements and structure can be combined to generate skills reports. The development of a prototype application, based on the above mentioned specification, tested the validity of the specification, and demonstrated to the sponsor the benefits that can be achieved by a systematic and practical approach to capturing, reviewing, planning and managing employee skills. It also highlighted the important business rationale for using such systems.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Isao T. Matsumoto, John Stapleton, Jacqueline Glass and Tony Thorpe

Organisations must continually innovate to remain competitive. A by‐product of innovation is new knowledge. In a knowledge economy, an organisation's ability to manage its

Abstract

Purpose

Organisations must continually innovate to remain competitive. A by‐product of innovation is new knowledge. In a knowledge economy, an organisation's ability to manage its knowledge can mean the difference between commercial success and failure. A key aspect of being able to manage knowledge is the ability to identify and capture it. This paper aims to present the development of the knowledge‐capture report (KCR) and the results of its use at the third TeamWork demonstration event for collaborative working.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantifying the number of discrete pieces of knowledge captured in the KCR and categorising the type and quantity of knowledge captured demonstrate the practicality and effectiveness of the KCR in a dynamic multidisciplinary design team environment.

Findings

The different approaches that were observed and adopted by the participants using the KCR highlight a number of key issues that need to be considered when attempting to capture knowledge in a constantly evolving design environment.

Originality/value

The use of the KCR by a wide range of industry practitioners demonstrates a quick, effective and low‐cost approach to capturing project knowledge and events. It could be adopted easily by the engineering and construction (AEC) industry as an entry point to managing knowledge, particularly in complex, multi‐disciplinary design environments.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2004

Robert C.T. Ellis, Gerard D. Wood and Tony Thorpe

Construction is a project‐oriented industry that benefits from both the technical and interpersonal skills that a project manager has to offer. Increasingly, project…

Abstract

Construction is a project‐oriented industry that benefits from both the technical and interpersonal skills that a project manager has to offer. Increasingly, project management is viewed as being an integrated process relevant throughout the project lifecycle, which necessarily draws upon a broad range of knowledge and abilities. It is imperative that project managers, therefore, have ready access to education and training programmes that enable them to update their skills. This paper compares a new distance learning project management educational software application with a traditional multiple‐media resource and a well‐established postgraduate module delivered in part‐time mode to establish the pedagogic effectiveness of distributed interactive multimedia. An analysis of quantitative data generated over a two‐year period finds that whilst learning and confidence gains occur in all delivery modes, there is no significant difference in the academic performance of students between the traditional control and distance learning experimental groups.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Simon Beatham, Chimay Anumba, Tony Thorpe and Ian Hedges

To review the key facets of a performance measurement system (PMS) and report on the development of a new model based on the European Foundation of Quality Management

Abstract

Purpose

To review the key facets of a performance measurement system (PMS) and report on the development of a new model based on the European Foundation of Quality Management (EFQM) excellence model.

Design/methodology/approach

The research involved detailed literature reviews and action research within the case study organisation. It involved the design of an integrated business improvement system (IBIS) that enables proactive performance measurement within an organisation.

Findings

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are now widely used in the construction industry but there is little evidence that they are being used as an integral and systematic part of an overall PMS. The approach proposed here and encapsulated in IBIS is intended to improve current practice.

Practical implications

The research found that the active engagement of both senior management and potential end‐users is vital for the successful design and implementation of a PMS.

Originality/value

The novelty of the paper lies in the detailed description of the stages followed in the development of the IBIS, and the model itself. It will be of value to researchers and business improvement managers both within and outside the construction industry

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Zoe Radnor and John Heap

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 53 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Isao T Matsumoto, John Stapleton, Jacqueline Glass and Tony Thorpe

Process mapping can lead to a more holistic understanding of how an organisation works. This paper seeks to discuss how an engineering design consultancy, which had…

Abstract

Purpose

Process mapping can lead to a more holistic understanding of how an organisation works. This paper seeks to discuss how an engineering design consultancy, which had developed a series of process maps on the design of steel frame buildings, developed a powerful management tool, the Management Briefing Sheet which has yielded numerous additional benefits enabling practice to be improved and quality procedures more easily accessed.

Design/methodology/approach

To maximise the knowledge and expertise of its supply chain partners and to better understand how it designed steel‐framed buildings, the engineering design consultancy undertook a process‐mapping exercise. Various techniques for documenting the process were considered, but a modified IDEF notation was chosen for its ability to capture the iterative nature of the design process and its methodical approach for deconstructing complicated activities.

Findings

Process‐mapping exercises can change the way organisations work and make them more efficient, but to do this the changes that would lead to improvements need to be implemented successfully. Carrying out a process‐mapping exercise in isolation from the end‐user can lead to complications.

Research limitations/implications

The key obstacle to implementing change identified by the engineering design consultancy, with whom the MBS was developed, was delivering the knowledge acquired from the process analysis in a format that end‐users could understand easily and adopt effectively.

Originality/value

This article will be of significant use to any organisation wishing to maximise the knowledge and expertise of its supply chain partners and identify inefficient working practices.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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