A Fresh Perspective
The specific aim of this component of the research was to access how strategy is enacted in practice; to develop a picture of how strategy has emerged over time and thereby to understand the relevant themes surrounding competitive strategy. The research recognised and welcomed contested points of view.
The research design has involved three in-depth case studies of regional constructions firms operating in the UK; including over 50 interviews, annual financial reports analysis, informal meetings, workshops, and feedback sessions with the case study firms.
The case studies provide new insights into the ways in which such firms strive to remain competitive in changing environments.
Key Emergent Themes are summarised below:
2. Path dependency
3. Building capabilities
4. Client relationships and localised networks
5. Opportunistic behaviour and serendipity
Click the links below to find out more about the case studies:
The findings illustrate that construction firms operate in a state of continuous adjustment between a regionally-based model and specialist divisions. Each has its particular operations and staffing issues.
Firms need to operate unique versions of the two business models concurrently to make themselves adaptive to market changes. They are then less constrained by long-term plans and more able to respond opportunistically to emergent markets.
This presents challenges such as maintaining an appropriate balance between 'central control' and 'local autonomy'. The latter facilitates entrepreneurial behaviours and enables multiple business units to become embedded within local markets or specialist sectors. However, group boards also have to maintain some degree of central control and coordination.
Maintaining an appropriate, but changing, balance between responsive entrepreneurship and constrained risk exposure is central to remaining competitive.