• Kristian Ditlev Bohnstedt
  • Jesper Kranker Larsen
This is a short master's thesis concerning competitive advantage in the construction industry.
The subject is inspired by previous student projects, which mainly had a focus on
companies' particular ability to create a good business both internally and externally by
altering strategic processes, which repeatedly led to the question of whether the best
companies have something special in common? The Danish construction industry has for
years been criticized for poor productivity and ineffective efficiency improvements compared
to other Industries and European countries, even though many initiatives have been
introduced to improve the situation sufficient results have not yet been achieved. These
considerations let to formulation of the main problem:
What makes the best better?
(Inspired by the book “In Search of Excellence” written by T. J. Peters & R. H. Waterman Jr.)
The problem was hereafter analyzed to emphasize the timeliness and importance in the
investigation of this problem. It is argued that the construction industry in lack of innovation
can be characterized by being too conservative and tradition‐bound, why this therefore
becomes a hindrance to the prospect of success. Due to the oppressive financial crisis
it is also particularly relevant to consider the possibilities of increasing competitive advantage,
it is necessary with innovative thinking to break with tradition. Uninhibited innovation
is not the path to success, the right innovative approaches carefully selected is.
This underlines the relevance and importance of investigating the issue further to find out
which innovative approaches have the greatest effect, and thus what the best do better.
In the methodological considerations a technical/social science methodologies approach
where chosen when selecting the following three methods: quantitative questionnaire,
comparative analysis and a flexible design case study. The empirical study was geographically
bounded only to consider members of The Benchmarking Centre for the Danish Construction
Sector (BEC) in North Jutland, and further more to the construction, carpentry‐,
and masonry contractors. In elaboration of the comparative analysis using data from
questionnaires, mark sheets from (BEC) and financial ratio analysis, which based on the
detected contexts i.e. between economy and quality, it was possible to explain how these
factors are linked with the use of innovative strategies within the company. The study
showed a pattern indicating correlation between size, level of innovation in chosen focus
areas of the organization and the ability to provide a more stable economical performance
without larger deviations both before and after the financial crisis. A final verification
where undertaken using a qualitative empirical study performed on selected cases in the
best performing segment involved in the comparative analysis, determine underlying
elements and factors in the focus areas of the firms.
It was found that innovation had a tendon positive effect on economic stability and customer
satisfaction. It became clear that companies with a special focus on Business Environment,
Marketing & Advertising, Employees, Applied Technologies, Work methods and
Sources of information were the most successful of all involved companies. The key words
that characterize the best performing companies in the north of Jutland are: superior service,
always the best quality, the perfect employee, shared values and a strong culture.
These things create competitive advantage and long‐term survival benefits for the successful
companies in this study.
Publication date4 Jan 2012
Number of pages200


ID: 58193892