Leadership in the Built Environment, Professor Charles Egbu

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Part of the “Leadership” Research, Innovation and Enterprise Exchange
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Thu 25 Apr, 2013
University of Salford

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  • Leadership in the Built Environment, Professor Charles Egbu

    1. 1. The Role of Leadership in Improved Knowledge Management Practices in Complex Construction Projects 25th April 2013 Professor Charles Egbu PhD FRICS FCIOB FRSA FAPM FHEA Professor of Project Management and Strategic Management in Construction Associate Head: Research & Innovation (SoBE)
    2. 2. Leadership “ A relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people” ....Getting people to do things and follow a vision willingly ....
    3. 3. Knowledge …  “ … a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers…” (Davenport & Prusak, 1998) Characteristics of knowledge – Dynamic - constantly changing through experience and learning – Requires ‘knowers’ – Context dependent
    4. 4. Knowledge Management “The management of any process or practice of creating, acquiring, capturing, sharing and using knowledge wherever it resides in order to meet existing and emerging needs, to identify and exploit existing and acquired assets and to develop new opportunities”.
    5. 5. What Do We Associate with Effective KM Initiatives – Organisational Perspective?  Effective KM strategy linked to the wider organisational strategy – Good support from top management  KM as a long term investment – not a ‘punctual act’  Involves TR2 (Trust, Respect and Reciprocity) – which takes time to build and embed within organisations.  A stable culture which is rife for k-creation, sharing, capture, and for the benefits of KM to be measured.  Incentivization of ‘knowledge workers’.  Adequate resources for KM initiatives – to accomplish good/stable processes/systems and IT infrastructure.
    6. 6. Nature and Characteristics of Projects  Uniqueness (one-time activity) and determinate life  Multi-firm networks - and temporary nature of project organisations – involving a multi-disciplinary team/multiple organisations (‘moveable feast’ of production)  Loosely-coupled – weak ties between actors: Mobility of the workforce is very high – nomadic in many instances.  Reputation-based competition – ‘swift trust’.  Strong reliance on informal networks and collaboration, and ‘know who’ to locate the repository of knowledge.  Little or no incentivisation for knowledge sharing, capture, transfer efforts.
    7. 7. Characteristics of Complex Projects Non-linear Emergence Dancing Landscape – Uncertainty, ambiguity, dynamic interfaces, and significant political or external influences – Run over a period which exceeds the technology being used at the start of the project – You know what you want to produce, but you don’t know how you’re going to build it
    8. 8. Project Managers as Knowledge Managers Responsibility Authority  Accountability  Articulated KM vision.  Enthusiastic knowledge champions  Holistic perspective  Culture of openness and one that stimulates innovation and learning 8
    9. 9. Leadership is Needed for.... Knowledge Creation, Communication and Exploitation
    10. 10. Theories of Leadership Source: www.bized.co.uk
    11. 11. Projects as Change Management Events... Leading when managing of change
    12. 12. Leadership in Complex Project Supply Chains – A knowledge Management Perspective Knowledge as a “Stock” and as a “Flow” Knowledge transforms in supply chains Projects are temporary endeavours Unstable teams
    13. 13. Attributes of a Successful Leader  Guiding Vision  Passion  Integrity  Honesty  Trust  Curiosity  Risk  Dedication  Charisma  Listening
    14. 14. Leadership – Mismatch between Reality and Expectations Reality LeadershipLeadership Expectations Rare to find leaders who are prepared to be open and honest
    15. 15. Context is Important in Effective Leadership in Projects Structural/Relational Issues Functions and Priorities Legitimacy Issues Leader Follower Task/Goals Environment/ Situation
    16. 16. Measuring Leadership Impact on Projects Cost Quality Time Organisational politics Personal Objectives Business Pressures External and stakeholder issues Leadership that Gets Results...
    17. 17. Project Leadership and KM Initiatives  Institute a sharing culture – openness and willingness to share experiences across project teams – “espouse the law of increasing returns of knowledge” (Cf. Boundary Paradox).  Define and communicate knowledge performance behaviours  Making knowledge performance part and parcel of project performance  Creation of knowledge teams – staff from all disciplines to develop or improve processes to effect k-communication  Introduction of knowledge webs and the provision of collaborative technologies (e.g. PIMS).  Create a risk tolerant climate – accepted that lessons can be learned through mistakes
    18. 18. Key Mechanisms to Improve K-sharing and Transfer of Knowledge in Project Environments Well organised project meetings –information well documented/ archived Story telling (more formality needed here) Coaching (including Apprenticeships), mentoring approaches Use of Quality Circles Effective use of Communities of Practice (CoP) – internal and external to projects  And use of Technologies (incl. ICT)
    19. 19. community of practice Creating an Environment for Knowledge Communication and Exploitation
    20. 20. Reflections and Conclusions  Real challenges exist in effectively managing knowledge in project environments  There are practical KM initiatives that can be adopted – Apprenticeships, coaching, mentoring, story telling and the use of IT enabled systems – e.g. project management information systems (PIMS)  Need better ways to transfer knowledge and lessons learned from project(s) to organisational base.  Project leadership has a role to play in improving knowledge management initiatives in project environments. But effective Leadership is complex and challenging

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