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Knowledge management in the building industry




Hall, Michael Gordon, author
Strong, Kelly C., advisor
Senior, Bolivar, committee member
Fugate, Brian, committee member

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Research studies of the American building industry from as far back as the 1920's, and through to the 21st century have been consistently critical of the inefficiencies and mismanagement in industry practices. The American industry grew and learned from European and British practices, which have not fared much better and have been equally criticized for decades. It is these same practices that are now a major influence on how the global construction industry conducts itself today. The same influences, impacting today's global industry's professionalism and managerial methodologies, have also great influenced the creation and practice of international construction law - based on western settled law. This research identifies that institutional practices of the building industry's governance and contractual practices have led to widely applied self-imposed industry constraints; which manage discrete, limited and specific information, but constrains knowledge. These restrictions on critically valuable knowledge have caused great inefficiencies, and formed a traditional business methodological phenomenon that propagates adversity. Traditional western industry practices, and numerous variants of it, have established a legal base of stare decisis, or "to stand by things decided;" these legal decisions have emboldened an invariant legal construct which restricts innovation in the assessment of existing and proposed industry practices. Studies of the building industry have too often sought to use legal precedent to the detriment of the industry, in lieu of harnessing it and advancing industry innovation through discrete engagement. Project contractual constructs increasingly magnify project complexity and restricted knowledge exchange under the guise of a premature assumption of unknown risks in projects that have yet to be designed. While simultaneously hindering processes that seek to be inclusive, collaborative and successful in producing a documented, clear contractual intent agreement, that eliminates phantom risk, prior to commitments to specific project events. The advancement of dynamic social and transactional business management processes, enables the creation of knowledge that is focused, timely, economical, and shared; identifying data, ideas, insights, opportunities, questions, issues, and problems, in a defined context, or event. Such processes promote the questions of "Why,' 'How,' 'What,' 'Where,' and 'When,' within the problem context (or event) structure. The Processes for Knowledge Management, and their contexts (events) for knowledge vision and innovation, create expectations and roles for resources (asset specificity) who through process governance and discrete contextual transactions, limit risk, manage time, cost, and quality of the components to make a project whole.


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business process management
construction management
design management
integrated project delivery
knowledge management
process manager


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