International Construction: From Transnational to Global

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings: 38th AUBEA International Conference Website, 2013, pp. 1 - 10
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Globalisation has transformed the world and national economies and had a profound impact on the way we live. The construction industry has been part of this transformation, driven by a number of factors. The development of the concept of globalisation in construction is divided into three chronological periods. The first starts with the work of Strassman and Wells (1988) and includes Hawk on the formation of the new construction industry (1991) and Abdul-Aziz's (1994) comparison of Japanese and American international construction firms. These writers document the change from the transnational firm discussed by Strassman and Wells within a conventional trade theory to Hawks and Abdul-Azizs work on the characteristics of the global firm operating in a globalised market. The second period runs from 1994 to about 2007 and the review identifies issues thought to be important in international construction at the time: competitiveness, technology and technology transfer, procurement and mergers and acquisitions. They draw surprisingly little from the previous discussion of globalisation, treating each issue in isolation. The third period starts about 2007 and brings together the different strands of thinking into a new, more mature, but equally footloose concept of globalisation. The review finds that there has been little progress in the appreciation of the effects of globalisation on the construction industry, which is surprising given the importance of the topic. The review concludes that there are a number of mega projects that call for firms with global outlooks, capabilities and strategies, but there is no global market in terms of how global manufacturing firms compete against each other. However, globalisation has created a new type of firms that in effect represent the development of a new industry that is changing our concept of construction.
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