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Understanding construction competitiveness: the contribution of system dynamics

By Brian Dangerfield, Stuart Green and Simon Austin


Purpose – Construction sector competitiveness has been a subject of interest for many years. Research too often focuses on the means of overcoming the “barriers to change” as if such barriers were static entities. There has been little attempt to understand the dynamic inter-relationship between the differing factors which impinge upon construction sector competitiveness. The purpose of this paper is to outline the benefits of taking a systems approach to construction competitiveness research. \ud \ud Design/methodology/approach – The system dynamics (SD) modelling methodology is described. This can provide practitioners with “microworlds” within which they can explore the dynamic effects of different policy decisions. The data underpinning the use of SD was provided by interviews and case study research which allowed an understanding of the context within which practitioners operate. \ud \ud Findings – The over-riding conclusion is that the SD methodology has been shown to be capable of providing a means to assess the forces which shape the sustained competitiveness of construction firms. As such, it takes the assessment of strategic policy analysis in the construction sector onto a higher plane. The need to collect data and make retrospective assessments of competitiveness and strategic performance at the statistical level is not now the only modus operandi available. \ud \ud Originality/value – The paper describes a novel research methodology which points towards an alternative research agenda for construction competitiveness research.\ud \ud \u

Publisher: Emerald
Year: 2010
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