From Crisis to Opportunity: Turnaround Strategies of Large Irish Construction Contractors During the Period 2007-2015.

Paul Tansey, John Spillane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)
815 Downloads (Pure)


The sudden change in environmental munificence level in the construction sector
during the period 2007 – 2015 provides a natural experiment to investigate strategic
and operating actions of firms, particularly during an environmental jolt. Statistics on
business failures corroborate that neither academics nor practitioners have succeeded
in guiding strategic action during periods of environmental jolt. Despite the recent
increase of turnaround research in the general management domain, its use in the
construction management realm remains underexplored. To address this research
gap, five exploratory case studies of an ongoing PhD study were used to examine the
turnaround strategies of construction contractors during a period of economic
contraction and growth. The findings show that, although retrenchment is often
considered to be a short-term strategy, this is clearly not the case; with the majority of
contractors maintaining the strategy for 6-7 years. During the same period,
internationalization became critical, with the turnaround process shifting towards
strategic reorientation that altered the firms' market domain. The case studies further
suggest that strategic and operational actions resonate quite well with contemporary
practice-based approaches to strategy making. The findings provide valuable
assistance for construction contractors in dealing with organisational decline and in
developing a successful turnaround response.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd ARCOM Annual Conference, 2016
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-0-9955463-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 07 Sep 2016
Event32nd ARCOM Annual Conference, 2016 - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 05 Sep 201607 Sep 2016


Conference32nd ARCOM Annual Conference, 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • contemporary strategy
  • internationalization,
  • organisational decline
  • retrenchment,
  • turnaround strategies

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