Managing multiple markets: big firms and PFI contracts
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613210903027147
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is frequently portrayed as a vehicle for change for the UK construction sector. Significant change in the working practices of construction companies is predicted as new business models based on whole-life value creation emerge. This paper shifts the focus of discussion from projected ideals and possible developments to the current situation. More specifically, it focuses on the challenges that large firms participating in both PFI and traditional markets face. The analysis focuses on the relations between business units and on day-to-day challenges to greater long-term commitment, through life-service provision and increased integration between construction and service provision. The paper offers insights into the effects of PFI on construction practice and their implications for theorizing on organizational and strategic change. It suggests abandoning a simplistic model of the centralized, homogenous firm and instead capturing the dynamics of decentralized, large firms working in multiple markets on a variety of projects. This would assist in the provision of more realistic and fruitful models of how to realize the PFI vision.