The construction market offers numerous opportunities for firms seeking to expand internationally. One can witness the amazing growth of "mega-cities" firsthand by observing skies filled with cranes in the Middle East, China, and other resource-rich developing countries. Projections for future demand in infrastructure and the built environment indicate that there will be increasing demands for firms to engage in projects around the world. There are tremendous opportunities for firms in the international construction market, but international construction projects also face numerous uncertainties and risks. These projects bring together teams working in unfamiliar environments with differing regulations, norms and cultural beliefs, which can lead to increased misunderstandings and costs. A key strategy that successful global firms adopt to reduce these costs is to increase their capabilities for acquiring and sharing information and knowledge about each local environment in which they have worked to use on their portfolio of international projects. This study compiles and analyzes data from 15 case studies of international firms engaged in global infrastructure development to identify the types of local and regional knowledge managers perceive to be most important to the success of their international projects. The firms covered in the case studies are of three types: real estate developers, contractors and engineers. These three firm types have different responsibilities and are involved in different phases of the project lifecycle. The paper concludes with the different kinds of knowledge that each firm type finds most critical to acquire and share in order to enhance the success of their global projects.
Javernick-Will, A. and Levitt, R. (2009). “Acquiring Local Knowledge for International Projects.” Construction Research Congress. Seattle, WA. doi: 10.1061/41020(339)35