Strategic Management in Design and Construction

Real estate, civil engineering, architecture, and construction together comprise the largest industry in the world. Major social systems such as governments and marketplaces, major natural systems such as land and oceans, and major technology advances like air conditioning, internal combustion engines, silicon chips, and carbon nanotubes all rely on he designed and built environment in order to succeed. Yet, design and construction are among the most fragmented, most risky, and least profitable of all businesses. Why is this? Can fragmentation and low margins be overcome? How should leaders go about crafting strategy for firms, in the face of many conflicting desires and expectations? This course introduces a number of strategic planning models and requires students to practice their application. The method of teaching is by the case study method where students read a synopsis of a business situation, and learn from each other and from the instructor through class discussion. The case readings are supplemented by timely readings from academic and business texts. Pedagogic Objectives: To provide students with the basic framework for carrying out strategic analysis and planning in a business context. The goals are to support students in career decisions, in becoming part of the leadership team in traditional practices, and to help investigate new business opportunities. Secondarily, many students find this course to be a useful window into the commercial world as it impacts the practice of architecture and related professions. Finally, this course often is thought provoking for practitioners for whom it is a new exposure to the implications of thinking strategically. Insights tend to arrive at all levels: at the individual, firm, and industry scales. There are no prerequisites. Prior work or business education or experience is useful. Completion Requirements: 2 short written problem sets3 papers, each not more than 5 pagesThe course has 2 sections with the same content so students can attend one or the other but need not attend both.Click here for the course website