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Title: Competing through architectural competitions : paradoxes and strategies
Author: Manzoni, B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 7887
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Architectural competitions are a fascinating, yet controversial, subject. Building from cross-disciplinary studies on competitions, creative professional service management literature and paradox theory, this research explores the paradoxes of competitions from the viewpoint of the architects’ strategizing for them. Paradox is used as a research focus and as a theoretical lens. A paradoxical inquiry links conflicting insights from four case studies of Italian and British architectural firms. This work is relevant for architecture as well as management scholars. On the one hand, it develops a theory of competitions’ paradoxes whose roots are legal, procedural, sectoral and organisational and it offers an understanding of competitions that can train architects to reduce mixed feelings and system contradictions and to compete more effectively. On the other hand, it offers an application of paradox theory to creative professional service industries and it advances paradox theory with regard to the interplay between acceptance, resolution, synthesis and separation. More specifically this research shows that paradox is a distinctive way to make sense of competitions’ contradictions. With regard to the competition process, several paradoxes are identified, namely those related to: strategic intent (acquiring the job vs. exploring in design terms and diversifying the business), staffing (availability vs. competence; diversity vs. cohesiveness), scheduling work (planning vs. allowing for flexibility), design strategy (following vs. challenging the brief), design proposal (depth vs. breadth of design contents), design submission (simplicity vs. complexity) and facilitating design work (directing vs. empowering the team). For each paradox, this research classifies underlying tensions; it proposes management approaches, categorised into synthesis and separation, and it highlights the relationships between paradoxes and a) contextual legal and procedural factors (writing of the brief, selection and shortlist, proposal design, jury assessment) framing the tensions and b) organisational ones (goals and strategic planning, marketing and sales, project, people and knowledge management) inculcating actions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available