Lost and found in translation: top-down decoupling and bottom-up recoupling of strategies and practices in construction production
Paper i proceeding, 2021

Researchers have noted an apparent decoupling between construction production strategies formulated at upper management, and their top-down translation into onsite practices. In this paper, we revisit the research question of how and why there is such a decoupling and use that to conceptualise a primarily bottom-up schema of production strategizing, drawing on site managers’ perspectives. As such, we conduct a Sweden-specific literature review focusing on (s) lean construction production practice variants, and (b) site managers’ dispositions towards production strategy improvements imposed by upper organisational levels - which may not align with hands-on best practices. The findings show that production-oriented lean construction variants aiming at strategy or on-site processes may lack an interface altogether; furthermore, there exists a decoupling between the standardisation logic of the strategic top-down view of production, and site managers’ tendency to act in free problem-solving roles. We then use the strategy as process and practice (SAPP) framework to integrate those findings and conceptualise a best practice-informed production strategising schema. This schema favours bottom-up production strategising, but also considers a loop-like collaboration approach - in an effort to integrate the benefits from a top-down production standardisation, with the flexible bottom-up buffer zones allowing for innovations and out-of-box solutions.

site managers



lean construction

loose coupling


Dimosthenis Kifokeris

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggnadsdesign

Martin Löwstedt

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Innovation and R&D Management

Proceedings of the 37th Annual ARCOM Conference


37th Annual Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM 2021)
Online, ,

Lean Construction - nuläget

Svenska Byggbranschens Utvecklingsfond (SBUF) (13940), 2021-03-01 -- 2022-02-28.

Centrum för management i byggsektorn (CMB), 2021-03-01 -- 2022-02-28.



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