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Hunters and farmers? The HRM implications of ‘product-service’ in construction

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conference contribution
posted on 08.05.2009, 08:39 by Stewart Johnstone, Andrew Dainty, Adrian Wilkinson
Providing additional services to accompany the sale of products is increasingly central to the business strategies of manufacturing companies. Such packages of products and services have become known as ‘integrated solutions’ or ‘product-service’ modes of working. In construction, the concept can be traced to build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects of the 1980s, where a consortium would finance, design construct and operate a facility for a specified period of time. More recently this approach is evident in PFI/PPP projects. It has been argued that firms attempting to shift to an integrated solutions model have to transform their cultures, mindsets, capabilities and organizational structures. This paper presents the findings of research which is examining the potential human resource management implications of a shift from ‘product’ to ‘product-service’ in the construction industry. A case study was conducted at a leading UK construction company, based upon 15 semi-structured interviews conducted with a range of senior managerial respondents. The results reveal that delivering integrated solutions may be hindered by two distinct mindsets within construction organizations: ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’. Whereas the former focuses on securing short-term wins within defined and time-limited relationships, the latter are more concerned with cultivating and nurturing the relationship over the long-term. The paper explores the tensions between, and the challenges of, the two mindsets in relation to drive for integrated service strategies within major construction organizations.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


JOHNSTONE, S., DAINTY, A.R.J. and WILKINSON, A., 2007. Hunters and farmers? The HRM implications of ‘product-service’ in construction. CIB2007 - 073, CIB World Building Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 21-25 May, pp. 254-265




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