Journal of Management in Engineering

Published by American Society of Civil Engineers

Online ISSN: 1943-5479


Print ISSN: 0742-597X


  • Article

January 1991


92 Reads

Tudor Hobeanu


Loredana Vacarescu Hobeanu
In the 1980s, organizational culture was asserted to have a strong relationship with organizational performance. Many management writers claimed that the best performing organizations were those with strong, enduring cultures. Strong cultures were perceived to provide consistent guides to behavior and performance desired by organizations. The members of the organization know what the organization values are and what is expected of them. However, little research has been conducted into the relationship between an organization's culture and its performance because of the difficulty in obtaining a consensus on the definition of organizational culture and the methodology to use in researching it. A framework developed by Quinn and Cameron overcomes these problems. This framework is presented and discussed in terms of organizational culture, organizational effectiveness, leadership roles, and management skills or competencies. The framework offers the opportunity for developing an understanding of organizational culture and its relationship with an organization's business environment as well as outcome variables such as performance. Recommendations for future research are presented.

Achieving Industrial Facility Quality: Integration is the Key

July 1996


30 Reads

Dr. Kelly


Jean Fergusson


Prof Paul




Member Asce
This paper demonstrates methods for measuring integration (information flow) in the facility development process, and for measuring the quality of completed facilities. Facility quality measurements serve as benchmarks of the performance of the facility development process. Integration parameters are the basis for adjusting the facility development process so that it produces increasingly higher quality facilities each time the process is repeated. We measured the flow of information in the facility development process: vertically (between functions such as operations and engineering), horizontally (between disciplines such as process piping and electrical design), and longitudinally (across time). We also measured the plant manager's satisfaction with the operational facility. A study of 17 industrial facilities shows that the three dimensions of information flow are good predictors of facility quality. The results suggest an increased emphasis on vertical and longitudinal informati...

Achieving Partnering Success through an Incentive Agreement: Lessons Learned from an Underground Railway Extension Project in Hong Kong
  • Article
  • Full-text available

July 2008


331 Reads

DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0742-597X(2008)24:3(128) Over the years, it has been observed that partnering has been ineffectively implemented in the public sector of Hong Kong. Contributing factors to this lack of success are nature and the large size of bureaucratic organizations and commercial pressure compromising the partnering attitude. The Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited (MTRCL), one of the prominent pioneers in adopting project partnering in the infrastructure sector of Hong Kong since 1999, however, implemented the partnering principle with significant success. This paper, based on a recently completed research project funded by the Construction Industry Institute Hong Kong in late 2004 and a followup in-depth interview meeting with senior executives of MTRCL in early June 2005, analyzes the rationale behind the successful development of partnering culture in the infrastructure sector of Hong Kong through a case study—the Tseung Kwan O Railway Extension (TKE) Contract 654—platform screen doors. The project comprises the supply and installation of platform screen doors along the whole MTRCL’s TKE with five stations. This project was analyzed by means of the project documentation and face-to-face interviews with the project representatives, comparisons with another five partnering case studies, and a followup in-depth interview meeting with another two senior executives of MTRCL. After the analysis, it was found that the implementation of partnering together with an incentive agreement (IA), a kind of target cost (TC) contract, underpinned the partnering success of this project. Therefore, it is recommended that partnering together with TC contracts, such as IA, greatly assists in the achievement of construction excellence, and can provide a workable model for enhancing overall project performance in electrical and mechanical projects. Author name used in this publication: Linda C. N. Fan Author name used in this publication: John F. Y. Yeung

Table 1 Profiles of Foreign Contractors Responded by Nationality 
Table 3 Forms of collaboration
Table 5 Selection of design institutes for strategic alliances
Forms of Collaboration and Project Delivery in Chinese Construction Markets: Probable Emergence of Strategic Alliances and Design/Build

July 2005


278 Reads

The regulation that allows foreign contractors to qualify as wholly foreign owned 'construction enterprises' has come into effect since Sep 2002, as one of the steps of the Chinese government to honor its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. Strategic planning decides project deliveries of a foreign contractor, whereas emerging market of project deliveries may have significant impact on the strategic planning. Based on an electronic-survey covering foreign contractors, clients (foreign investors), and design institutes, design-build delivery has been found prevalent in foreign contractors’ projects in China. A SWOT analysis of foreign contractors has been conducted. Collaboration with design institutes is essential for foreign contractors’ sustainable growth, given the current construction environment in China. Among the various forms of collaboration, strategic alliance is revealed as the most appropriate form of collaboration for foreign contractors in China. Mutual-trust , synergistic strengths and complementarities, market demand for the services, flexibility for both parties, and minimum change of top managers have been ranked as top five critical success factors for strategic alliances between foreign contractors and design institutes. Finally, medium-sized, state-owned, and large-sized design institutes are rated as the1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in the strategic partner selection of foreign contractors.

Participation, Barriers, and Opportunities in PFI: The United Kingdom Experience

July 2008


186 Reads

This article was published in the Journal of Management in Engineering [© ASCE]. The definitive version is available at: Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects play an increasingly important role for both the UK government and the construction sector. It is still a relatively new form of procurement that requires a wide range of specialist advice during the bidding stage and in-depth knowledge of how the facility will perform in the long term. This paper investigates the level of participation in PFI projects in the UK, the opportunities available for the construction sector, the types of problems experienced and the challenges for the future. It achieves this by analyzing the results of a questionnaire survey of a large number of client and construction organizations. The study finds that there is a wide gap in the level of PFI experience between client and construction organizations, affordability of PFI projects and high bidding costs are key issues for client and construction organizations respectively and, given the nature of PFI projects, there is considerable scope for knowledge transfer both during the project and between different PFI projects. Accepted for publication

Benchmarking, Benchaction, and Benchlearning: Rework Mitigation in Projects

October 2003


160 Reads

The Australian government has issued several calls to improve the performance of the construction industry. A lack of available benchmark metrics has made it difficult, if not impossible, for organizations to identify areas to target for process improvement. A significant factor that has been found to contribute to poor organizational and project performance is rework. Using the results of a questionnaire survey, the paper presents and discusses a series of benchmark metrics for the causes and costs of rework for 161 construction projects. A generic framework for benchmarking rework at the interfaces of a project's life cycle is proposed, and unstructured interviews are used to subject the proposed framework to validation by industry practitioners.

Benchmarking, benchaction, and benchlearning: Rework mitigation in projects

May 2014


706 Reads

The Australian government has issued several calls to improve the performance of the construction industry. A lack of available benchmark metrics has made it difficult, if not impossible, for organizations to identify areas to target for process improvement. A significant factor that has been found to contribute to poor organizational and project performance is rework. Using the results of a questionnaire survey, the paper presents and discusses a series of benchmark metrics for the causes and costs of rework for 161 construction projects. A generic framework for benchmarking rework at the interfaces of a project's life cycle is proposed, and unstruc-tured interviews are used to subject the proposed framework to validation by industry practitioners.

Table 4 . Scope of Measures' Comparison among Benchmarking Initiatives
Table 5 . Comparison of Implementation among Benchmarking Initiatives
Benchmarking Initiatives in the Construction Industry: Lessons Learned and Improvement Opportunities

October 2006


5,260 Reads

Benchmarking is a systematic process of measuring and comparing an organization's performance against that of other similar organizations in key business activities. The lessons learned from other companies can be used to establish improvement targets and to promote changes in the organization. The benchmarking process can create a fertile ground for ideas, but only in a receptive environment; companies that share good practices and compare their performance against others benefit most. Recently, industry groups in several different countries have initiated benchmarking programs focused mainly on construction performance measures. This paper describes the scope of these initiatives and discusses the lessons learned and improvement opportunities that were identified in their design and implementation. This investigation is focused on four initiatives, carried out in Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This paper concludes by recommending some further directions on this research topic.

Development of a Methodology for Live Capture and Reuse of Project Knowledge in Construction

January 2007


96 Reads

The efforts to share and reuse knowledge generated on construction projects are undermined mainly by the loss of important insights and knowledge due to the time lapse in capturing the knowledge, staff turnover, and people’s reluctance to share knowledge. To address this, it is crucial for knowledge to be captured “live” in a collaborative environment while the project is being executed and presented in a format that will facilitate its reuse during and after the project. This paper uses a case study approach to investigate the end-users’ requirements for a methodology for the live capture and reuse of knowledge, and the shortcomings of current practice in meeting these requirements. A methodology for the live capture and reuse of project knowledge is then presented and discussed. The methodology, which comprises a web-based knowledge base, an integrated work-flow system and a project knowledge manager as the administrator, allows project knowledge to be captured live from ongoing projects. This also incorporates mechanisms to hasten knowledge validation and the dissemination of the knowledge once it has been validated.

Fig. 1. Lean Design: a proposed simplified generic model of the design process of AEC/EPC projects 
Fig. 2. Similarities between the flow and lean design models 
Table 2 . Waiting Times in Design Process Freire and Alarcón 2002
Improving Value Generation in the Design Process of Industrial Projects Using CAVT

April 2006


660 Reads

This paper presents research results that describe how value generation can be improved in the design process of industrial projects when using computer advanced visualization tools (CAVT). The CAVT concept definition, prior studies about impacts of CAVT, and why they are not sufficient are presented in the paper, supporting the assertion that the extensive attention to technology instead of to the context of technology application and the lack of a conceptual framework has prevented some prior research about CAVT impacts to truly focus in ideas about how to improve engineering and construction processes. Combining production theory and lean construction principles with information technology (IT), a framework for understanding the impacts of CAVT developed as part of the research is proposed. Illustration of the use of the framework in a case study and research validation activities leads to analytic generalization of the research results.

Closure to "Developing a Model of Construction Safety Culture” by Rafiq M. Choudhry, Dongping Fang, and Sherif Mohamed

January 2009


263 Reads

The concept of safety culture is relatively new in the construction industry; however, it is gaining popularity due to its ability to embrace all perceptional, psychological, behavioral, and managerial factors. To address the lack of a verifiable process to analyze construction safety culture, this technical note presents a robust conceptual model that has its roots firmly entrenched in pertinent academic and applied literature. It provides a critical review of the term “safety culture”; along with distinct yet related concepts (i.e., safety climate, behavior-based safety, and safety system). It also compares the proposed model with available safety culture models in order to demonstrate its applicability in construction site environments. Yes Yes

Effect of Delivery Systems on Collaborative Negotiations for Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects

April 2001


119 Reads

In large-scale projects, collaboration is an essential key for the success of projects. Since different participants from different organizations try to work together in projects, competitive stresses exist in their relationships and as a result, disputes or conflicts may inevitably occur. This paper builds on Peña-Mora and Wang's collaborative negotiation methodology for facilitating/mediating the negotiation process of conflicts. In order for that collaborative negotiation methodology to be more detailed for its implementation, it needs to account for the effect of project structures and delivery methods on the negotiation processes in large-scale projects. Because contracts define the temporary formal and informal relationships among the different parties in a project and subsequently, they define the framework of the negotiations of conflicts within that project, different delivery systems may be more or less effective in terms of conflict resolution. In this research, to study the effect of delivery system on negotiation of conflicts, first, several different project structures and delivery systems are studied in order to identify participants' roles, responsibilities, and relationships. Second, potential conflicts in relationships among project participants are examined to show that each delivery system has typical or pattern behavior that may affect the interrelationship among groups on negotiations. These patterns or characteristics of the groups and their relationship make possible to evaluate quantitatively and qualitatively the advantage or disadvantage of each delivery system in terms of conflict avoidance or dispute resolution. Then, indexes of negotiation effectiveness for each delivery system are developed in order to quantify the advantage of implementing the collaborative negotiation methodology in a large-scale project within a particular delivery system.

Fig. 1. STEPS model 
Fig. 2. Learning organization matrix is comprised of learning levels and characteristics. When characteristics are applied at each level, specific responsibilities are developed for organization employees. 
Knowledge Management to Learning Organization Connection

July 2007


4,161 Reads

This conference paper is also freely available online from the ICONDA®CIBlibrary at The changes in the engineering-construction (E-C) industry of the 21st century require organizations to take a more active role in developing knowledge management and learning organization initiatives. The need to both retain knowledge within the organization and focus on continuous human resource development throughout all levels of the organization is becoming a primary challenge throughout the industry. This paper addresses this challenge by focusing on the question of the link between knowledge management and learning organizations and how to transform an organization from a focus on knowledge management to a focus on developing a learning culture. Based on a series of studies by the PIs into the characteristics of both knowledge management and learning organizations, this paper outlines models of each of these concepts and introduces a bridge that details the level of knowledge management implementation that must be in place prior to an organization having the capacity to move to a learning focus. Additionally, the case studies conducted during the current study provide a basis for presenting potentially unsuccessful paths that may be selected by organizations during the implementation of a knowledge management to learning organization transition. Accepted for publication

Exploiting Knowledge Management: The Engineering and Construction Perspective

January 2006


283 Reads

This article was published in the Journal of Management in Engineering [© ASCE]. The definitive version is available at: Construction companies have always relied on their knowledge assets to provide services to clients. In recent years the terminology ‘knowledge management’ has been introduced. Knowledge management (KM) seeks to formalize the manner in which companies exploit their knowledge assets by harnessing organizational knowledge, promoting greater collaboration between groups with similar interests, capturing and using lessons learned on previous projects, etc. This paper investigates how major US engineering design and construction firms are implementing knowledge management initiatives in order to identify best practice. It adopts a case study methodology to investigate companies’ Strategy and Implementation, People Aspects and Metrics for Performance. The study finds that there is a clear distinction between the knowledge management activities undertaken by large engineering design firms and those of construction firms. There is also a much greater emphasis on knowledge sharing, which is just one component of knowledge management. Moreover, some companies have specific KM initiatives whilst others have activities that are part of their normal business processes. Accepted for publication

Fig. 1. The life cycle of a construction project  
Table 1 . Contribution of VP technology to the LCM of construction projects
Table 2 . Cost and time savings in the construction phases of real-life projects in Hong Kong
Life-Cycle Management of Construction Projects Based on Virtual Prototyping Technology

January 2010


10,582 Reads

DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0742-597X(2010)26:1(41) Life-cycle management (LCM) has been employed in the management of construction projects for many years in order to reduce whole life cost, time, risk and improve the service to owners. However, owing to lack of an effective information sharing platform, the current LCM of construction projects is not effectively used in the construction industry. Based upon the analysis of the information flow of LCM, a virtual prototyping (VP)-based communication and collaboration information platform is proposed. Following this, the platform is customized using DASSAULT software. The whole process of implementing the VP-based LCM of projects is analyzed via the application to a real-life construction project. The advantages of implementing a VP-based LCM are also discussed and, from a simple case study, it is demonstrated that the VP-based communication and collaboration information platform is an effective tool to support the LCM of construction projects. Author name used in this publication: H. L. Guo

Information Technology Planning Framework for Japanese General Contractors

July 2002


49 Reads

Developments in information technology (IT) continue to have a significant impact on the architectural/engineering/ construction (A/E/C) industry. However, the issue of whether A/E/C organizations are receiving adequate returns from their IT investments remains an important managerial concern. Recently, Pena-Mora, Vadhavkar, Perkins, and Weber introduced a strategic IT planning framework for construction projects that includes four steps: environmental scan, internal scrutiny, IT diffusion analysis, and IT investment modeling. It analyzes the external and internal IT conditions of a project/firm, identifies the diffusion phase of IT in the project/firm, and finally evaluates the effects of IT investments on the project/firm. Although this framework was originally intended to plan future IT investments, we assume that the framework can also be used to evaluate ongoing or past IT investments in projects/firms. Following this idea, this paper presents an application of the Peña-Mora et al. framework to an ongoing IT project in Kajima Corporation, one of the largest Japanese general contractors. Kajima is currently developing an IT system called LINCS (Linkage of Information for a New Construction System). This synthetic information network system has been designed to share building data among design and construction stages and streamline design/build activities. By using the framework proposed in this paper, we analyzed how LINCS is justified in terms of its strategic and operational value for Kajima and its construction projects.

Management-Driven Integration

January 2000


194 Reads

The fragmentation of the architecture/engineering/construction (A/E/C) industry creates increased demand for coordination and integration of project participants. This paper provides practitioners with an increased understanding of the importance of integration for project and company performance, and the integration mechanisms and barriers. The paper first provides a review of the literature on organizational theory, construction, and manufacturing, and identifies integration mechanisms and potential benefits. Then, the paper presents empirical evidence regarding the integration benefits that managers in construction firms identify, the mechanisms they use, and the reasons that prevent them from utilizing integration mechanisms. Finally, the paper identifies four managerial barriers to integration: need for front-end investments, difficulty to measure and distribute the benefits, reduced ability to utilize integration mechanisms across projects, and lack of skills and organizational culture that promote integration.

ISO 14000 and the Construction Industry: Survey in China

July 2005


62 Reads

The rapid growth of the Chinese economy sparked off a great volume of construction activities, but the damage caused by construction activities to the environment is indisputable and has alerted some large Chinese construction firms to seek effective environmental management. The ISO 14000 series offers a framework for managing construction operations to improve environmental performance. To discover the conditions of implementation of ISO 14000 in the construction industry, a structured questionnaire survey was conducted whose results show that the major motivation for implementing the system was to seek entry to the international construction market. Other motivations include standardization of the environmental management procedures for internal operations, obtaining social recognition, gaining confidence from clients and a better corporate image, enhancing the environmental awareness of subcontractors, and cleaner sites as a result of better housekeeping. However, some obstacles remain along the path, such as the financial burden, poor rates of return for most firms, low environmental awareness, and inadequate legal enforcement. Based on the analysis and discussion, the paper concludes that the government should take the lead in encouraging training, providing financial support, and improving the legal framework to promote ISO 14000 for the Chinese construction industry.

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