Engineering companies strategizing globalisation
Paper in proceedings, 2016
The rapid globalisation of the construction market should bring new potential for the Engineering Construction (EC) industry in terms of 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 involve 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 small network of Swedish engineering companies which have been active on the globalised market, we followed their concrete considerations, choices and actions in developing contacts and creating collaboration with foreign partners. To do so, we draw on a strategy as practice approach. The practice perspective defines strategy as something performed by people opposed to something a company has, and identifies strategy as the strategic activities reiterated in time by the diverse actors interacting in an organizational context, i.e., strategizing. The empirical material consists mainly of a longitudinal case study of a small engineering company and its network trying to expand in China, complemented by the interviews of two 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.
strategy as practice