Exploring the relationship between the configurations of
international construction majors and the effectiveness
with which they develop their core competencies.
Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).
This research explores the relationship between the configurations that international construction majors (ICMs) adopt and the effectiveness with which they develop their core competencies. Its significance lies with the fact that - due to the project-based, diversified and internationalized nature of ICMs - findings from this research not only contribute to our knowledge regarding the strategic management of large construction organizations, but also to our knowledge regarding the management of project-based organizations (PBOs) in general, and production-oriented multi-national corporations (MNCs). In addition, it expands the boundaries of core competence theory’s application towards a novel context, other than the production-oriented industries in which it has been traditionally examined. In this research, theory was critically reviewed to define and describe core competencies within the context of multi business unit (BU) organizations - such as ICMs. Drawing from ‘cybernetics’, ‘management control’ and mainstream strategic management theories, five corporate-level activities were brought forward as effectively shaping core competence development. Implementing a qualitative multiple case study strategy in the tradition of critical realism, four ICMs - and one shadow case which was ultimately not included - were studied through collection and analysis of documentary and semi-structured interview data. Their cross-case comparison - and discussion of findings in light of the extant literature - showed that the divisionalization inherent in diversified configurations can influence negatively the effectiveness with which ICMs develop their core competencies. In contrast, in the presence of ‘lateral links’ between distinct, yet related, BUs: i) standardization of processes (particularly regarding project-team integration and organizational learning mechanisms integrated with reporting processes), ii) standardization of skills and iii) standardization of norms, positively influence the effectiveness with which core competencies are developed. In addition - and perhaps most importantly - particular ‘structural’ and ‘functioning’ organizational characteristics were identified, which enable core competencies to effectively emerge.
|Title:||Exploring the relationship between the configurations of international construction majors and the effectiveness with which they develop their core competencies|
|Open access status:||An open access version is available from UCL Discovery|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management|
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