The myth of best practice through the lens of construction supply chain management

Stuart Tennant, Scott Fernie, Michael Murray

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

1 Citation (Scopus)
334 Downloads (Pure)


Much is made of the concept best practice. It is repeatedly drawn upon by policy makers, academics and industry practitioners as a quasi-solution to construction industry ills. As an expression, it is often difficult to contest. Indeed, best practice implies identifying policy, process and procedure that offer the most optimum and efficient outcome. In short, best practice is all about improving performance. However, for the majority of commercial organizations, best strategy is also about improving performance. Despite the apparently congruent ambitions, best practice is not equal to best strategy. This misapprehension only serves to propagate the myth of best practice. This is a polemic paper, exploring the utility of best practice through the lens of construction supply chain management. Drawing inspiration from economic theory, construction management literature and previous supply chain management studies, the myth of best practice in construction supply chain management is exposed. Regardless of Government sponsorship and considerable academic investment, adoption of best practice in UK construction supply chain management remains slow and routinely symbolic. Yet, supply chain members do not behave irrationally. If best practice was truly in their best strategic interests it is highly probable that supply chain members would adjust their rules of economic engagement accordingly. It may be strongly argued that in contrast to the hype and repeated suggestion of supply chain win-win scenarios, UK Government endorsed best practice does not adequately serve the commercial interests of the majority. The very limited achievements of 'Rethinking Construction', serves as a case in point. Disappointingly, few lessons appear to have been learned. The myth of construction supply chain management and by extension best practice in UK construction continues unabated albeit under a shiny new banner, Construction 2025.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2014
Event30th Annual ARCOM Conference and Annual General Meeting - University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20143 Sept 2014


Conference30th Annual ARCOM Conference and Annual General Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • UK construction industry
  • best practice
  • corporate strategy
  • myth
  • supply chain management
  • construction 2025


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