The dynamic capabilities of public construction clients in the healthcare sector

Abderisak Adam (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Göran Lindahl (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Roine Leiringer (Department of Real Estate and Construction, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Publication date: 8 May 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research within the dynamic capabilities literature has primarily targeted the strategic innovation of technology firms and significantly less interest has been given to project-based organizations that operate in the construction sector. A recent study by Davies and Brady (2016) places the dynamic capabilities concept in a project-based context, drawing upon research on dynamic capabilities and organizational ambidexterity. The purpose of this paper is to apply the aforementioned framework in a case involving public construction clients with the aim of examining their approaches for maintaining or developing project capabilities depending on the volatility of the environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a case study of a decentralized association of 16 healthcare client organizations in Swedish counties, which was compared to a centralized unit for healthcare planning and construction in Norway. In total, 19 interviews were conducted, alongside two workshops and a feedback questionnaire.

Findings

The interviewees emphasized the lack of adequate support to handle the increasingly more complex projects. Results indicate the need for a more segmented approach for understanding how dynamic capabilities are managed in client organizations based not merely on the level of stability in the environment, but also taking into account the resources that are utilized. It is further argued that there is a need for a more granular research approach to studying the development of capabilities in a case-based setting, an approach that more specifically links the development of dynamic capabilities with their relevant antecedent activities.

Originality/value

The study sheds light on how the various approaches for maintaining/developing project capabilities available to the public sector construction client depend on the volatility of the environment and the resources they require.

Keywords

Citation

Adam, A., Lindahl, G. and Leiringer, R. (2019), "The dynamic capabilities of public construction clients in the healthcare sector", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-06-2018-0111

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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