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Operations strategy development in project based production – a political process perspective

Christian Koch (Department of Construction Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Ole Friis (AU Herning, Aarhus University, Herning, Denmark)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 5 May 2015




The purpose of this paper is to study how operations strategy (OS) innovation occurs in a project-centred production and organisation.


A longitudinal case study encompassing the processes at the headquarters of the company and in two projects using lean.


The operation strategy development commences at a middle level in the organisation, is underpinned and embedded in production projects and only after several years becomes embedded in the corporate operation strategy. Projects use lean principles in a differentiated manner.

Research limitations/implications

A qualitative case study provides insight into only a single occasion of change in OS. More case studies would probably reveal several paths of OS development. OS development need to be handled as emergent, political and with contributions from several managers and management levels, bridging the vertical divides between projects and headquarter.

Practical implications

A conscious and systematic vertical integration and interaction is crucial in project-based companies doing operation strategy development, something critically difficult at building contractors.


The present study contributes to the small body of studies of OS development processes, by providing insight in how project-based companies renew their operation strategy.



The authors would like to thank Rolf Simonsen (PhD, MSc) for his field work and analysis of the lean construction cases without which this paper would not have been possible.


Koch, C. and Friis, O. (2015), "Operations strategy development in project based production – a political process perspective", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 501-514.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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