Improving the learning of design management operations by exploiting production’s feedback : Design science approach

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Question: How can the learning of design management operations in a construction company be accelerated through feedback acquired from production? Purpose: This study examines the development and implementation of a learning process in a contractor’s design management unit. The purpose is to gain knowledge on how learning can be turned into a standardized process and of methods of accelerating the learning in a design management unit by exploiting the feedback received from the production. Research Method: The research took a design science approach, which consisted of a diagnosis of the present situation, testing & development of the formulated process, and analysis & generalization of the results. The diagnosis comprised a literature review, interviews, and active observation, while the testing phase included an intervention where the process was tested and further developed. Findings: The results indicate that while the relevancy of continuous learning is well recognized, construction organizations are incapable of effectively exploiting the best practices of knowledge management. To overcome weaknesses related to the inefficient learning practices, organizations should focus on balancing the operational and strategical viewpoints of learning, emphasize learning from failures and implement project-based communities of practice into an organization’s operations. Limitations: The study was limited to a qualitative study of a single organization. The design science approach allowed to examine the case at hand effectively, however, the generalization of the results should be further validated. Implications: The study has implications for more standardized and balanced learning processes in contactor operations. The study also provides knowledge of ways of taking a design science approach effectively in construction management research. Value for authors: Continuous learning from production's feedback has been recognized to have a significant role in lean construction development; however, the implementation of effective learning processes has been widely ineffective within organizations. Therefore, we expect the paper to be studied by lean practitioners within the academy as well as within the industry, especially by the ones who are interested in continuous learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-75
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Design management
  • Design science
  • Knowledge management
  • Organizational learning


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