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Title: Tailoring competitive advantages derived from innovation to the needs of construction firms
Authors: Lim, J.N.
Schultmann, F.
Ofori, G. 
Keywords: Competition
Construction companies
Construction costs
Issue Date: 2010
Citation: Lim, J.N., Schultmann, F., Ofori, G. (2010). Tailoring competitive advantages derived from innovation to the needs of construction firms. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 136 (5) : 568-580. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Innovation is often classified as a cost intensive investment in the construction industry with indefinite returns. Due to the clients' tendency to award projects based on the lowest costs, innovation is often seen as an unfeasible strategy toward the competitiveness that construction firms are seeking. This study questions whether it is indeed ineffective for construction firms to develop their competitive advantage through innovation. By the application of statistical data across 18 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and expert interviews in Singapore, innovation systems models are developed for both manufacturing and construction firms, respectively. Through comparison of both models, the results suggest that the peculiarities of the construction industry deem innovation as a poor competitive instrument for direct profits. Instead, construction firms can develop their competitive advantage through manipulating innovations that consumers are willing to pay for and innovations that would reduce construction costs. It is recommended that construction firms first utilize quality improvements to exploit consumers' willingness to pay for innovative products. This initiative would enable construction firms to improve their finances for innovation and develop their "brand" in construction products. Sustainable competitive advantage could then be firmly established when construction firms engage in productivity improvements that lead to lower construction costs and/or faster completion times. This study concludes that innovation can be a useful competitive tool if construction firms aptly strategize it in according to its competitive environment. © 2010 ASCE.
Source Title: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
ISSN: 07339364
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000151
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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