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Title: A typology of construction professional service firms : a consulting engineering perspective
Author: Jewell, Carol A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 3681
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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Construction professional services (CPS) make an important contribution to the UK economy through overseas trade. They have recorded a positive balance for at least a decade, yet the way CPS companies operate overseas is not well understood. Many CPS firms have globalised and changed their organizational structure, intra-organisation co-ordination, and business strategies. They operate in rapidly changing environment which has become more complex with greater foreign ownership, different forms of procurement, and the greater use of joint venturing. Globalization continues to transform the manner in which business is undertaken by the lowering of international barriers to the flow of goods, services, capital and labour, and a marked acceleration in the pace of technological and scientific progress. There is a significant amount of research undertaken to understand the definition, characteristics, classification, trading and marketing of services and an increasing amount of research into professional service firms. However, there is little research into CPS firms in the international construction market. The research identified most CPS firms want to operate globally, but localization is very important. The available multinational corporation (MNC) organisation models, based on manufacturing, do not fit well with CPS firms, whose services are highly customized and location specific. A typology was developed that sought to differentiate CPS engineering firms working overseas and explain the way they account and organise their business and their growth strategies. The typology, based on five dissimilarities identified from the within- and across-case analyses, reveal the importance of ownership, growth strategy and local autonomy in their overseas offices. Furthermore, the manufacturing models were shown to be inappropriate for CPS firms that are characterised by high customization and location specificity. Local responsiveness is important to the firms, but equally, centralized knowledge management, human resources and risk management systems allow the best available service is available to clients on a worldwide basis. It was shown that a heterarchical model would ensure a balance between the global and the local.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available