The Construction Company as a Service Firm

Mattias Jacobsson / Thimothy L. Wilson

Mintzberg, in reflecting on management, suggests that we should be looking for new ways to look at things. In this regard, the construction industry is unique as it exists midway between manufacturing and service production. In this paper we argue that although the outputs of the industry are physical, operations tend to be service oriented. The three level model of Normann serves as the analytical framework and empirical illustrations come from a Swedish project that appears to mandate understanding at all three levels. At the macro level, a strong service management system was developed in part as an outcome of a partnering agreement; success at the intermediate level came as a result of some steps taken to blend cultures, and interactions at the micro level were implemented from the beginning by developing strong relationships with customers. These findings should have both conceptual interest for academics and practical implications for managers.