Change in construction: a critical perspective
Fernie, S., Leiringer, R. and Thorpe, T. (2006) Change in construction: a critical perspective. Building Research and Information, 34 (2). pp. 91-103. ISSN 0961-3218
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613210500491639
Change within the construction sector has been a central concern of governments and a select few private-sector clients for a considerable time. The discourse of change emanating from organizations concerned with reform in the construction sector reflects these ongoing concerns for change in the sector. The underlying assumptions of the content of change and appropriate change mechanisms in the UK are critically examined and challenged. In particular, the limitations of measurement and best practice are explored. The allegiance to approaches based on measurement and best practice is acontextual, unreflective and insufficient in providing wholly reliable explanations for the relationship between practice and performance. Claims for the use of measurement and best practice by the reform movement must therefore be understood to have limitations and their use approached with caution. The emphasis on best practice is also understood to direct attention away from understanding the legitimacy of current practice and change within the UK construction sector. An agenda for change in the UK construction sector will need to engage with and be more reflective of current managerial practice and past change initiatives. Contextual approaches such as structuration theory offer a way in which to underpin a research framework that could support the reform movement in setting such an agenda.