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Buser, M, Bosch, P and Koch, C (2016) Engineering companies strategizing globalisation. In: Chan, P W and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 32nd Annual ARCOM Conference, 5-7 September 2016, Manchester UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 1089–1098.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: internationalisation; engineering companies; strategy as practice
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-0-1
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/597037cb14129f0c47d21457f310e70f.pdf
  • Abstract:

    The rapid globalisation of the construction market should bring new potential for the Engineering Construction (EC) industry which should benefit from collaboration inside and outside of the national borders. Especially, engineering outsourcing is established as a global sector practice and expected to be a booming business in the future. There is a rich literature describing possible strategy, organisational forms and set ups and potential benefits of these internationalisation processes. Besides, the challenges that these forms of cooperation may be facing have also largely be identified and discussed. However, there is less focus on how these collaborations occur in practice, in particular how they are initiated and negotiated and in which context they take place.  Looking at a group of Swedish engineering companies which have been active on the globalised market, we followed their concrete considerations, choices and actions in developing contact and creating collaboration with foreign partners. To do so we build on a “strategy as practice” approach. The ‘practice perspective’ defines strategy as something done by people opposed to something a company have,  and identifies strategy as the strategic activities reiterated in time by the diverse actors interacting in an organizational context (Jarzabkowski et al., 2007). The empirical material consists mainly of a longitudinal case study of a network of five SMEs trying to expend in China, complemented by the interviews of eight project managers of other engineering companies who have also engaged in an internationalisation process. The results underline the lack of classical long term strategy to the favour of ad hoc solutions and the central role of project managers in creating these international projects.