Design management methodology to strengthen firm and industry competitiveness in the construction design services export sector
London, K. and Siva, J. 2010, Design management methodology to strengthen firm and industry competitiveness in the construction design services export sector, in CIB 2010 : CIB 2010 World Congress Proceedings : Building a Better World, The Conference, [Salford Quays, England], pp. 1-17.
The aim of this research was to investigate strategies deployed by successful construction design-related firms towards achieving high levels of firm competitiveness in international markets. A reflexive capability model, developed through a critical analysis of related internationalisation literature, is composed of three key areas; internationalisation process, market knowledge and design management. Firm reflexive capability is explored through the management of social, cultural and intellectual capital. The concept of reflexivity is borrowed from sociology. Reflexivity is reinterpreted as the ‘firm’s’ ability to be aware, responsive and adaptable to self, market and project needs assessment. A cross case analysis explored the barriers and success factors through three constructs; internationalisation process, design management and market knowledge of three firms. This paper demonstrates that international firm competitiveness is dependent upon the strategic inter-relational management of social, cultural and intellectual capital for maximum advantage of the utilisation and leverage of one form of capital to gain another. This leads to the development of increasing reflexive capability to support internationalisation. An outcome of this research is the identification of the central relation between a level of reflexive capability within the firm and the firm’s level of success in international markets. This research is part of an ongoing program of research on international collaborative practice. A Reflexive Capability Matrix was developed from the findings of one research project and then validated through a second research project (only the capability matrix is presented in this paper though). The reflexive capability approach is appropriate to all firms but what is speculated upon is that the reflexive capability is particularly intrinsic to small to medium sized construction design firms who work globally. A reflexive capability is a characteristic of successful and innovative firms internationalising and working within global models of practice.