The impact of the international construction standard application capability on contractors’ competitiveness: Chinese contractors’ experience
The application capability of international construction standards (ICS) has become a necessary element for the success of contractors in the international market. However, there is a lack of quantitative analysis of the impact of ICS application capability on contractors’ competitiveness. This paper aims to explore the driving paths between them. The authors divided the competitiveness indicators into market performance indicators and image performance indicators and developed a standard application capability measurement scale based on five dimensions (knowledge learning, talent guarantee, technical support, relationship management and organization guarantee). Then, a structural equation model (SEM), in which project performance was regarded as a mediator variable, was established to investigate the path and intensity of ICS application capability on contractors’ competitiveness. A questionnaire was distributed to the project personnel of Chinese contractors engaged in international projects, and 174 valid questionnaires were collected. The results show that 1) relationship management and technical support have a direct driving effect on the competitiveness of contractors; 2) talent guarantees and organization guarantees affect contractors’ competitiveness through project performance. This study can remind contractors of the importance of the ICS application capability and the weakness of ICS application. Additionally, it will ultimately help contractors adjust their competitiveness strategies.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Adenfelt, M. (2010). Exploring the performance of transnational projects: shared knowledge, coordination and communication. International Journal of Project Management, 28(6), 529–538. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2009.10.004
Ansoff, H. I., & McDonnell, E. J. (1988). The new corporate strategy. Wiley.
Anthony, R. N. (1988). The management control function. Harvard Business School Press.
Archibugi, D., & Coco, A. (2004). A new indicator of technological capabilities for developed and developing countries (ArCo). World Development, 32(4), 629–654. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2003.10.008
Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice (13th ed.). Kogan Page.
Bassioni, H. A., Price, A. D. F., & Hassan, T. M. (2005). Building a conceptual framework for measuring business performance in construction: an empirical evaluation. Construction Management and Economics, 23(5), 495–507. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144619042000301401
Batarlienė, N., Čižiūnienė, K., Vaičiūtė, K., Šapalaitė, I., & Jarašūnienė, A. (2017). The impact of human resource management on the competitiveness of transport companies. Procedia Engineering, 187, 110–116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2017.04.356
Berssaneti, F. T., & Carvalho, M. M. (2015). Identification of variables that impact project success in Brazilian companies. International Journal of Project Management, 33(3), 638–649. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2014.07.002
Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118619179
Bollen, K. A., & Stine, R. (1990). Direct and indirect effects: Classical and bootstrap estimates of variability. Sociological Methodology, 20(1), 115. https://doi.org/10.2307/271084
Chai, D. S., & Dirani, K. (2018). The dimensions of the learning organization questionnaire (DLOQ). The Learning Organization, 25(5), 320–330. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLO-03-2016-0017
Chang, T., Deng, X., Hwang, B. G., & Zhao, X. (2018). Political risk paths in international construction projects: Case study from Chinese construction enterprises. Advances in Civil Engineering, 6939828. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/6939828
Cheung, S. O., & Chow, P. T. (2011). Withdrawal in construction project dispute negotiation. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 137(12), 1071–1079. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000388
China National Institute of Standardization. (2002). GB/T 20000.1-2002 Guidelines for standardization – Part 1: standardization and related activities common vocabulary.
Coltman, T. (2007). Why build a customer relationship management capability? Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 16(3), 301–320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsis.2007.05.001
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. (2019). COSO internal control – Integrated framework: An implementation guide for the healthcare provider industry. Crowe.
David, L. S. (2003). Starting at the beginning: An introduction to coefficient alpha and internal consistency. Journal of Personality Assessment, 80(1), 99–103. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327752JPA8001_18
Deng, F., Liu, G., & Jin, Z. (2013). Factors formulating the competitiveness of the Chinese construction industry: Empirical investigation. Journal of Management in Engineering, 29(4), 435–445. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000161
Durdyev, S., Ismail, S., & Kandymov, N. (2018). Structural equation model of the factors affecting construction labor productivity. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 144(4), 04018007. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001452
Elyamany, A. H. M. (2010). Developing a rational approach for contractor selection based on history of construction quality and long -term performance (Publication No. 743815067) [Doctoral dissertation]. Proquest, Umi Dissertation Publishing.
Engineering News-Record (ENR). (2019). The top 250 international contractors list. https://www.enr.com/toplists/2019Top-250-International-Contractors-1
Erdogan, B., Abbott, C., & Aouad, G. (2010). Construction in year 2030: developing an information technology vision. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A – Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 368, 3551–3565. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2010.0076
Eybpoosh, M., Dikmen, I., & Birgonul, M. T. (2011). Identification of risk paths in international construction projects using structural equation modeling. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 137(12), 1164–1175. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000382
Ferreira, A., & Otley, D. (2009). The design and use of performance management systems: An extended framework for analysis. Management Accounting Research, 20(4), 263–282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mar.2009.07.003
Floyd, F. J., & Widaman, K. F. (1995). Factor analysis in the development and refinement of clinical assessment instruments. Psychological Assessment, 7(3), 286–199. https://doi.org/10.1037/1040-35188.8.131.526
Foster-Fishman, P. G., Berkowitz, S. L., Lounsbury, D. W., Jacobson, S., & Allen, N. A. (2001). Building collaborative capacity in community coalitions: A review and integrative framework. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(2), 241–261. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1010378613583
Galetić, L., Načinović, I., & Klindžić, M. (2012). Transforming the organizational structure and culture to sustain long-term competitiveness. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference An Enterprise Odyssey: Corporate governance and public policy – path to sustainable future (pp. 911–924). Zagreb, Croatia.
Gao, G. D. (2010). Discussion about the application of Chinese quota in large-scale international engineering bidding. Construction Economy, 4, 37–38 (in Chinese).
Gefen, D. (2000). E-commerce: the role of familiarity and trust. Omega, 28(6), 725–737. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0305-0483(00)00021-9
Goh, S., & Richards, G. (1997). Benchmarking the learning capability of organizations. European Management Journal, 15(5), 575–583. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0263-2373(97)00036-4
Gunduz, M., Birgonul, M. T., & Ozdemir, M. (2017). Fuzzy structural equation model to assess construction site safety performance. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 143(4), 04016112. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001259
Gunhan, S., & Arditi, D. (2005). Factors affecting international construction. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 131(3), 273–282. https://doi.org/10.23883/IJRTER.2017.3415.CEGVN
Gurmu, A. T. (2020). Fuzzy synthetic evaluation of human resource management practices influencing construction labour productivity. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-04-2019-0198
Hair, Jr., J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2009). Multivariate data analysis (7th ed.) Pearson.
Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1990). The core competence of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68(3), 79–91.
Han, S. H., & Diekmann, J. E. (2001). Approaches for making riskbased go/no-go decision for international projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 127(4), 300–308. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2001)127:4(300)
Han, S. H., Kim, D. Y., Jang, H. S., & Choi, S. (2010). Strategies for contractors to sustain growth in the global construction market. Habitat International, 34(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2009.04.003
Han, J., Park, H., Ock, J., & Jang, H. (2015). An international competitiveness evaluation model in the global construction industry. KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering, 19(3), 465–477. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12205-012-0486-z
Hasan, A., Hassan, R., Ali, E. R. A. E., Ali, E. M. T. E., Abduh, M., & Noordin, N. H. (2019). A proposed human resource management model for zakat institutions in Malaysia. ISRA International Journal of Islamic Finance, 11(1), 98–109. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijif-10-2017-0036
Hatush, Z., & Skitmore, M. (1997). Criteria for contractor selection. Construction Management and Economics, 15(1), 19–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/014461997373088
Hooley, G. J., Greenley, G. E., Cadogan, J. W., & Fahy, J. (2005). The performance impact of marketing resources. Journal of Business Research, 58(1), 18–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(03)00109-7
Hsu, Y.-H., & Fang, W. (2009). Intellectual capital and new product development performance: The mediating role of organizational learning capability. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 76(5), 664–677. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2008.03.012
Iliescu, M., & Ciocan, R. (2017). Modern technologies innovation in use for quality control on construction site. Procedia Engineering, 181, 999–1004. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2017.02.499
Javernick-Will, A. N., & Scott, W. R. (2010). Who needs to know what? Institutional knowledge and global projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 136(5), 546–557. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511792533.009
Jerez-Gómez, P., Cespedes-Lorente, J., & Valle-Cabrera, R. (2005). Organizational learning capability: a proposal of measurement. Journal of Business Research, 58(6), 715–725. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2003.11.002
Komurlu, R., Arditi, D., & Gurgun, A. P. (2015). Energy and atmosphere standards for sustainable design and construction in different countries. Energy and Buildings, 90, 156–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.01.010
Kotter, J. P., & Heskett, J. L. (1992). Corporate culture and performance. The Free Press.
Khandekar, A., & Sharma, A. (2005). Managing human resource capabilities for sustainable competitive advantage: An empirical analysis from Indian global organisations. Education + Training, 47(8/9), 628–639. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400910510633161
Kwon, D. K., & Kareem, A. (2013). Comparative study of major international wind codes and standards for wind effects on tall buildings. Engineering Structures, 51, 23–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.engstruct.2013.01.008
Lei, Z., Tang, W., Duffield, C., Zhang, L., & Hui, F. K. P. (2017). The impact of technical standards on international project performance: Chinese contractors’ experience. International Journal of Project Management, 35(8), 1597–1607. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2017.09.002
Li, X. D., Guan, K., & Lai, X. (2004). Comprehensive evalaution and simulation analysis of interntional competitiveness of top contractors. Journal of Harbin Institute of Technology, 10, 1354–1357 (in Chinese).
Li, H. R., Chen, H., Li, Q. M., Chen, C., & Li, Z. (2017). Research on the development strategy of China’s international engineering contractors – Based on the performance data of the world’s largest 250 international engineering contractors from 2000 to 2015. Journal of International Economic Cooperation, 4, 27–33 (in Chinese).
Lindkvist, L. (2004). Governing project-based firms: Promoting market-like processes within hierarchies. Journal of Management and Governance, 8(1), 3–25. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:MAGO.0000015392.75507.ad
Liu, J., Zhao, X., & Yan, P. (2016). Risk paths in international construction projects: Case study from Chinese contractors. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 142(6), 05016002. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001116
Lu, W., Shen, L., & Yam, M. (2008). Critical success factors for competitiveness of contractors: China study. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 134(12), 972–982. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2008)134:12(972)
Lueg, R., & Radlach, R. (2016). Managing sustainable development with management control systems: A literature review. European Management Journal, 34(2), 158–171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2015.11.005
Mahadeen, B., Al-Dmour, R. H., Obeidat, B. Y., & Tarhini, A. (2016). Examining the effect of the organization’s internal control system on organizational effectiveness: A Jordanian empirical study. International Journal of Business Administration, 7(6), 22–41. https://doi.org/10.5430/ijba.v7n6p22
Marsh, H. W., & Hau, K. T. (1996). Assessing goodness of fit: Is parsimony always desirable? Journal of Experimental Education, 64(4), 364–390. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.1996.10806604
Marsick, V. J. (2013). The dimensions of a learning organization questionnaire (DLOQ) introduction to the special issue examining DLOQ use over a decade. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 15(2), 127–132. https://doi.org/10.1177/1523422313475984
Marsick, V. J., & Watkins, K. E. (2003). Demonstrating the value of an organization’s learning culture: The dimensions of the learning organization questionnaire. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 5(2), 132–151. https://doi.org/10.1177/1523422303005002002
Matlay, H., Khandekar, A., & Sharma, A. (2005). Organizational learning in Indian organizations: a strategic HRM perspective. Journal of Small Business & Enterprise Development, 12(2), 211–226. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000510594610
McDonald, & Roderick, P. (1999). Test theory: a unified treatment. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Meng, X. (2012). The effect of relationship management on project performance in construction. International Journal of Project Management, 30(2), 188–198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2011.04.002
Merna, A., & Smith, N. J. (1990). Bid evaluation for UK public sector construction contracts. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 88(1), 91–105. https://doi.org/10.1680/iicep.1990.4529
Mohamad, M. R., & Zin, N. M. (2019). Knowledge management and the competitiveness of small construction firms. Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, 29(5), 534–550. https://doi.org/10.1108/cr-03-2018-0027
Moon, T. (2010). Organizational cultural intelligence: Dynamic capability perspective. Group & Organization Management, 35(4), 456–493. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601110378295
Ng, P. K., Goh, G. G. G., & Eze, U. C. (2011). The importance of CAD and knowledge management in concurrent engineering project performance. Journal of Information & Knowledge Management, 10(4), 365–378. https://doi.org/10.1142/s0219649211003061
Nicolaou, A. I., & Masoner, M. M. (2013). Sample size requirements in structural equation models under standard conditions. International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 14(4), 256–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accinf.2013.11.001
Norris, G., & O’Dwyer, B. (2004). Motivating socially responsive decision making: the operation of management controls in a socially responsive organisation. The British Accounting Review, 36(2), 173–196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bar.2003.11.004
Ogunyomi, P., & Bruning, N. S. (2016). Human resource management and organizational performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(6), 612–634. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2015.1033640
Ogwueleka, A. (2011). The critical success factors influencing project performance in Nigeria. International Journal of Management Science and Engineering Management, 6(5), 343–349. https://doi.org/10.1080/17509653.2011.10671182
Ozorhon, B., Arditi, D., Dikmen, I., & Birgonul, M. T. (2008). Effect of partner fit in international construction joint ventures. Journal of Management in Engineering, 24(1), 12–20. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0742-597X(2008)24:1(12)
Paulraj, A., Lado, A. A., & Chen, I. J. (2008). Inter-organizational communication as a relational competency: Antecedents and performance outcomes in collaborative buyer-supplier relationships. Journal of Operations Management, 26(1), 45–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jom.2007.04.001
Pheng, L. S., & Hongbin, J. (2003). Internationalization of Chinese construction enterprises. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 129(6), 589–598. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2003)129:6(589)
Porter, M. (1990). The comparative advantage of nations. The Free Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-11336-1
Price, B., Comrey, A. L., & Lee, H. B. (1993). A first course in factor analysis. Technometrics, 35(4), 453. https://doi.org/10.1080/00401706.1993.10485363
Prieto, I. M., & Revilla, E. (2006). Assessing the impact of learning capability on business performance: Empirical evidence from Spain. Management Learning, 37(4), 499–522. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507606070222
Rose, K. H. (Ed.) (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (5th ed.). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/pmj.21345
Russell, J. S., & Skibniewski, M. J. (1988). Decision criteria in contractor prequalification. Journal of Management in Engineering, 4(2), 148–164. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)9742-597X(1988)4:2(148)
Shahhosseini, V., & Sebt, M. H. (2011). Competency-based selection and assignment of human resources to construction projects. Scientia Iranica, 18(2), 163–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scient.2011.03.026
Sharif, M. N. (1997). Technology strategy in developing countries: evolving from comparative to competitive advantage. International Journal of Technology Management, 14(2–4), 309–343. https://doi.org/10.1504/ijtm.1997.001729
Tan, Y., Ochoa, J., Langston, C., & Shen, L. (2015). An empirical study on the relationship between sustainability performance and business competitiveness of international construction contractors. Journal of Cleaner Production, 93, 273–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.01.034
Tan, Y., Xue, B., & Cheung, Y. (2017). Relationships between main contractors and subcontractors and their impacts on main contractor competitiveness: An empirical study in Hong Kong. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 143(7), 05017007. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001311
Turk, A. (2006). ISO 9000 in construction: An examination of its application in Turkey. Building and Environment, 41(4), 501–511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2005.02.013
Valero, E., & Adán, A. (2016). Integration of RFID with other technologies in construction. Measurement, 94, 614–620. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.measurement.2016.08.037
van Popering-Verkerk, J., & van Buuren, A. (2017). Developing collaborative capacity in pilot projects: Lessons from three Dutch flood risk management experiments. Journal of Cleaner Production, 169, 225–233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.04.141
Wijayasundara, M., Mendis, P., Zhang, L., Sofi, M. (2016). Financial assessment of manufacturing recycled aggregate concrete in ready-mix concrete plants. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 109, 187–201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.02.007
Wright, P. M., & McMahan, G. C. (1992). Theoretical perspectives for strategic human resource management. Journal of Management, 18(2), 295–320. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920639201800205
Wu, J.-N., & Zhong, W.-J. (2009). Application capability of ebusiness and enterprise competitiveness: A case study of the iron and steel industry in China. Technology in Society, 31(3), 198–206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2009.06.004
Wu, J.-N., Zhong, W.-J., & Mei, S.-E. (2011). Application capability of e-business, e-business success, and organizational performance: Empirical evidence from China. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 78(8), 1412–1425. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2011.03.023
Yan, J. F. (2012). Research on problems of engineering construction standards in the international engineering. Construction Economy, 7, 57–60 (in Chinese).
Yan, S. (2017). Strategic analysis of international competitiveness for construction firms in China. In 2017 World Conference on Management Science and Human Social Development (MSHSD 2017). https://doi.org/10.2991/mshsd-17.2018.1
Yao, Y. B., Chen, Z. X., & Jia, Y. (2013). Tourist trustworthiness of destination: Dimension and its consequence. Tourism Tribune, 28(4), 48–56 (in Chinese).
Yates, J. K., & Aniftos, S. C. (1996). International standards: the US construction industry’s competitiveness. Cost Engineering, 38(7), 32.
Yates, J. K., & Aniftos, S. (1997). International standards and construction. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 123(2), 127–137. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(1997)123:2(127)
Yu, A. T., Shen, Q., Kelly, J., & Hunter, K. (2006). Investigation of critical success factors in construction project briefing by way of content analysis. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 132(11), 1178–1186. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2006)132:11(1178)
Zahra, S. A., Neubaum, D. O., & Larrañeta, B. (2007). Knowledge sharing and technological capabilities: The moderating role of family involvement. Journal of Business research, 60(10), 1070–1079. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2006.12.014
Zhao, Z., Shen, L., & Zuo, J. (2009). Performance and strategy of Chinese contractors in the international market. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 135(2), 108–118. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2009)135:2(108)
Zou, W., Kumaraswamy, M., Chung, J., & Wong, J. (2014). Identifying the critical success factors for relationship management in PPP projects. International Journal of Project Management, 32(2), 265–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2013.05.004