To ward off potential future criticism and disappointed readers, it deserves to be pointed out right away that this monograph is not intended to serve as a ‘how to’ book in the field of knowledge management; it is not anchored in the engineering sciences with their insistence on solving the problems at hand. Instead it is an attempt on the basis of a variety of social sciences critically to discuss and examine how knowledge can be addressed, managed and developed in the construction industry. The literary corpus addressing the management of the construction industry tends at times to enact an instrumental and functionalist perspective, thereby reducing inherent complexities to linear relationships and uncomplicated facts of the matter. Such a perspective is enormously rewarding in terms of bracketing off the full complexity of social and ordinary life, and focusing exclusively on solving pressing problems. However, operating exclusively on the basis of what has been called ‘downstream’ theory (Nayak, 2008) eliminates some of the more elementary assumptions within a discipline or field of investigation. Therefore, this book has the ambition to think not only of ‘knowledge management’ as a fixed or uncomplicated set of practices, models, concepts and tools, but to think equally of ‘management’ as a social practice and ‘knowledge’ as an epistemological category as embedded in social, economic and cultural relations that strongly shape and form how these terms are used. That is, ‘knowledge management’ does not fall from the sky but instead denotes a series of social practices in organizations that in various ways are contingent on historical and social contexts. Taking such an ‘anti-essentialist’ view of knowledge management is a complicated task because it does not assume that there is some transcendental idea or commonly shared model of what knowledge management is prior to actual practices. Instead, knowledge management becomes the emergent practice wherein various forms of skills and know-how are treated as an organizational resource

that is contributing to the firm’s long-term competitiveness and sustainable competitive advantage. Given the substantial heterogeneity of the forms of knowledge mobilized in the construction industry – ranging from the architect’s vision of how social spaces can be transformed into build environments to the carpenter’s ability to use various mechanical tools to produce actual buildings – knowledge management in the construction industry will of necessity become a rather amorphous term. It contains a wide range of activities, practices, tools, procedures and systems.