Managing construction challenges: Viability of a dynamic capabilities approach for the public client
Construction clients in the public sector face a large number of challenges in designing, procuring and managing construction projects in a manner that is conducive to the organization’s overall goals. In particular, clients have faced challenges in delivering projects that satisfied the projects’ goals with respect to cost overruns, delays and sustainable construction. The role of the client in managing these challenges has more recently been emphasized with a growing number of studies and governmental reports calling for the development of the client’s capabilities.
This thesis examines the capabilities of the construction client through a dynamic capabilities framework, particularly with respect to the activities of sensing, seizing and transforming. Furthermore, the thesis explores whether the concept of dynamic capabilities is a viable approach for understanding how to manage the clients’ capabilities in a way that ensures that construction-related challenges are addressed. The thesis is based primarily on a case study of a large public construction client located in Sweden.
Findings are presented in three appended papers. The thesis concludes with a discussion on the viability of using a dynamic capabilities framework in the specific case described in this thesis. It is argued that the concept of dynamic capabilities is inadequate for capturing the specific context in which public client organizations operate. Suggestions for alternative approaches to understanding the management and development of capabilities are then discussed.