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Managing building projects in ancient China A comparison with modern‐day project management principles and practices

Managing building projects in ancient China A comparison with modern‐day project management... Purpose – The Chinese civilization is an important part of the history of mankind. The purpose of this paper is to show that there are project management lessons to be learned from Chinese history, including that relating to the management of the building process in ancient China. Design/methodology/approach – Through a review of the literature, this paper discusses the key management and economic practices in the building process of ancient China and highlights these practices from an important document, the Yingzao Fashi or (“Treatise on Architectural Methods”), that was compared with the modern‐day project management framework. Findings – This paper explains the official systems instituted for public projects; the management of labour, design and planning of construction works; quantity surveying practices; the use, control and recycling of building materials; and inspection of building elements in ancient China. Practical implications – The study suggests that lessons in the principles of construction project management in ancient China bear many similarities with the nine areas of modern‐day project management body of knowledge relating to integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risk, and procurement management. An area for future research would be to compare the Yingzao Fashi with modern‐day codes of practice for building works to determine which of its “ancient” provisions relating to quality management are still relevant today. Originality/value – It was found that much emphasis was placed by the ancient Chinese on the quality aspects of prominent building projects. This is one facet from which modern‐day project managers and clients can draw lessons. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Management History Emerald Publishing

Managing building projects in ancient China A comparison with modern‐day project management principles and practices

Journal of Management History , Volume 13 (2): 19 – Apr 17, 2007

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1751-1348
DOI
10.1108/17511340710735582
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The Chinese civilization is an important part of the history of mankind. The purpose of this paper is to show that there are project management lessons to be learned from Chinese history, including that relating to the management of the building process in ancient China. Design/methodology/approach – Through a review of the literature, this paper discusses the key management and economic practices in the building process of ancient China and highlights these practices from an important document, the Yingzao Fashi or (“Treatise on Architectural Methods”), that was compared with the modern‐day project management framework. Findings – This paper explains the official systems instituted for public projects; the management of labour, design and planning of construction works; quantity surveying practices; the use, control and recycling of building materials; and inspection of building elements in ancient China. Practical implications – The study suggests that lessons in the principles of construction project management in ancient China bear many similarities with the nine areas of modern‐day project management body of knowledge relating to integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risk, and procurement management. An area for future research would be to compare the Yingzao Fashi with modern‐day codes of practice for building works to determine which of its “ancient” provisions relating to quality management are still relevant today. Originality/value – It was found that much emphasis was placed by the ancient Chinese on the quality aspects of prominent building projects. This is one facet from which modern‐day project managers and clients can draw lessons.

Journal

Journal of Management HistoryEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 17, 2007

Keywords: Project management; Building services; China; History

References