Effect of Autonomous Agents on Last Planner System Performance in Texas
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2018 American Society of Civil Engineers. Lean construction (LC) holds potential benefits for project labor productivity; however, the impact on the industry has not been significant. Among other factors, the self-interested behavior of stakeholders, called autonomous agents (AAs) in game theory, has affected LC performance. AAs make decisions for their own benefit rather than for the sake of the project. This paper presents an exploration of the potential impacts that the behavior of subcontractors, as AAs, have had on the performance of LC tools, such as the last planner system (LPS). A qualitative approach was used to collect data through personal interviews with 74 participants in eight projects, built by four construction companies, throughout Texas. A quantitative approach was used to analyze the interviews. The findings were as follows: (1) subcontractors behaved as AAs; (2) the LPS did not prevent the behavior of subcontractors AAs, but it supported the management of issues by the behavior of the subcontractors as AAs; and (3) the behavior of subcontractors as AAs affected LPS performance. This study contributes to the body of knowledge on engineering management by identifying a problem affecting LC, prompting academics and practitioners to investigate solutions that will benefit the labor productivity of the industry.