Toward error management in construction: Moving beyond a zero vision

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Journal Article

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Love, P.E.D., & Smith, J. (2016). Toward error management in construction: Moving beyond a zero vision. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 14(11), 1-10.

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© 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers


0733-9364 print, 1943-7862 ejournal


In addressing the need to ensure not only rigor but also relevance (i.e., practical and socially applicable) in research, this paper provides the knowledge required to understand how to intervene in construction and initiate change that satisfies the need to learn and engender process improvement. In addressing the need to ensure relevance for practice, this paper examines how the 6Es collective learning framework (engaging authentic leadership, enacting coaching, engendering a learning climate enacting behaviors, embedding collective learning, and engaging a new culture) can be operationalized. In doing so, the concept of zero vision (i.e., defects and harm) that is aligned with the notion of error prevention (i.e., errors can be and should be prevented) is challenged and an alternative emphasis on error management (i.e., errors happen) is promulgated; the managerial implications of adopting this approach are discussed as well. The paper concludes that if the construction industry is to gain traction in the pursuit of productivity and performance improvements, then greater emphasis needs to be placed on developing a learning culture that is able to transform error events into experiences; Learning from errors that have occurred (error management) can then help to prevent errors in the future.

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