Constructing Learning: Adversarial and Collective Working in the British Construction Industry
reportposted on 2012-03-09, 09:29 authored by Daniel Bishop, Alan Felstead, Alison Fuller, Nick Jewson, Konstantitnos Kakavelakis, Lorna Unwin
This paper examines two competing systems of work organisation in the British construction industry and their consequences for learning. Under the traditional ‘adversarial’ system, conflict, hostility and litigation between contractors is commonplace. Such a climate actively militates against collective learning and knowledge-sharing between parties. Conversely, under ‘collaborative working’, contractors engage in greater risk-sharing; they pool knowledge and work together to solve problems at all points and stages in the productive system - a process conceptualised as ‘knotworking’ in parts of the literature. The paper argues that such learning theories and policy pressures fail to take adequately into account the heavy hand of history and the importance of understanding the nature of the productive systems in which ‘knotworking’ is expected to occur. Both are important in understanding the fragility of collaborative working across the construction production process which place limits on making ‘knotworking’ an habitual and commonplace activity.
CitationLearning as Work Research Paper, 2008, No.13.
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Management
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