A Technique For Developing Strategic Differentiation For Small Architectural Firms

John L. Heintz, Guillermo Aranda-Mena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Since the crash in 2007, the number of small architectural firms has risen dramatically as both recently graduated and recently laid off architects decide to go out on their own. In such a crowded market firms will need to find some way to distinguish themselves from their many competitors. Arguing from the Resource Based Strategy theory the authors assert that to be successful architectural firms must build and promote competences which are both scarce and in demand in order to compete successfully. This should especially be the case in a ‘buyers’ market’. Architect starting their own firms must provide something more than standard package of architectural services will not be enough to permit new firms to gain clients. A series of case studies was used to compare this theoretical proposition with the experience of recently established architectural firms (+-5 years). The case studies gathered firm histories including the original goals of the principle architect(s), their entrance strategies and
marketing approaches, their client list and portfolios of acquired and completed projects. This permitted a comparison to be made between the firm profile the architects originally desired to establish, and the profiles eventually realized. In particular, the perceived selling points which the principle architects believed would provide them with the ability to acquire projects with the services they eventually were able to sell. The case studies supported the assertion that a clear differentiation strategy is one means of successfully launching a firm and gaining a client base.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the CIB World Building Congress 2016
Subtitle of host publicationVolume III, Building up business operations and their logic, Shaping materials and technologies
EditorsArto Saari, Pekka Houvinen
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3743-1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016
EventCIB World Building Congress 2016 - Tampere, Finland
Duration: 30 May 20163 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Department of Civil Engineering. Construction Management and Economics. Report


ConferenceCIB World Building Congress 2016
Abbreviated titleWBC16


  • Architectural Firm
  • Competences
  • Strategy
  • Differentiation


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