Doctoral student writing

Lean and agile construction

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


The Toyota Production System (TPS) introduced a paradigm shift in thinking to automotive manufacture (Womack et al., 1990) that has since been applied to more complex flow environments including healthcare and construction under the label ‘lean’. These environments are characterised by much higher variability and uncertainty requiring greater agility and very different tools and approaches to those adopted by Toyota, however, the underlying paradigm shift from local cost optimisation to systems based flow thinking is still very applicable.   This research aims to better understand the origins of flow management in a manufacturing setting before evaluating the issues in transferring these concepts and tools to a construction setting. The research will particularly focus on the management signalling tools (eg Kanban) that underpin a flow based management system of Toyota. The research is anticipated to investigate the role of related signalling tools in construction, such as Last Planner (Koskela et al., 2010) in facilitating flow control in the short to medium term. Alternative management signalling tools such as CCPM (Stratton, 2009) will also be explored to better understanding how longer term planning can be flow focused.

It is anticipated the exploratory nature of this research will involve case study or action research across one or more construction projects that have or are undertaking systems approaches concerned with adopting a flow management signaling tools.


Koskela, L., Stratton, R. and Koskenvesa, A., 2010. Last planner and critical chain in construction           management: comparative analysis .In: 17th Annual Conference, International Group for Lean   Construction, Haifa, Israel, 14-16 July 2010 . 
Stratton, R., 2009. Critical chain project management theory and practice. In: POMS 20th Annual           Conference, Orlando, Florida, USA, 1-4 May.
Womack, J.P., Jones, D.T, and Roos, D., 1990. The Machine that Changed the World, New York: Macmillan.


Dr Roy Stratton

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

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Roy Stratton