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Alsakini, W (2012) Two models for managing the virtualisation of construction management firms in the context of Finnish construction markets, Published PhD Thesis, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Aalto University.

  • Type: Thesis
  • Keywords: construction management; construction markets; Finland; interviewing; literature review; model design
  • URL: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-60-3619-9
  • Abstract:
    During the deep recession in Finland in the early 1990s, construction management (CM)-based competitive pressures caused many traditional building contractors to change their organising strategies via a vision characterised as a virtual contractor. In the 2000s, the realisation of such a vision has been enabled via IT infrastructures and fast developments in ICT. The twofold objective of this dissertation is to choose the relevant dimensions and design a model of virtuality, as well as to design an ideal model of a virtual CM services company (VCMSC) and its management system. The principles of core competencies, outsourcing, networking and IT systems strategies were adopted from within the literature as the theoretical bases for model design. The semi-novel, generic model of virtuality was designed along the three dimensions of collaborative management system, outsourced operations and competitive networking in order to assist the top management in companies to restructure and strategise towards virtual business performance. In turn, a novel model of an ideal VCMSC was designed to exhibit the best characteristics along the three dimensions of virtuality. This model can be used as a reference value and a tool for measuring degrees of virtuality within individual companies. The ideal VCMSC is a dynamic system with an IT-based integrated management system, where networked companies reconfigure around a lead member and a fat organisation nurtures a competitive network of special system contractors (SSCs), designers and a staff pool. The three-dimensional virtuality model was validated in terms of the theoretical ideal VCMSC model as a measurement tool of companies’ actual degrees of virtuality via theme interviews and self-assessment questionnaires with ten companies in the Finnish construction industry. The interviews revealed that these companies are far from being virtual and that virtualisation is understood as merely using IT to enhance productivity and increase competitiveness. The contributions of the study point out a need for collective moves along all the three dimensions for an ideal-like virtualisation on both company and project levels in terms of (i) integrating project management (PM) and network management systems, (ii) outsourcing functional units and project staff and changing procurement strategies towards larger work packages to be procured from among SSCs, and (iii) contracting project-specific capabilities and managing a portfolio of collaboration forms with members in a competitive network.