The positive effect of differentiation strategy on achieving competitive advantage among construction companies is widely acknowledged in the literature. However, there exists only a limited number of studies in the construction management literature that investigate the drivers and modes of differentiation. The purpose of this study is to determine appropriate modes and drivers of differentiation strategy in the Turkish construction industry.
In this study, based on the results of an extensive literature survey, a set of modes and drivers are defined as well as a conceptual framework to investigate their interrelations. Structural equation modelling (SEM) is proposed as an effective tool to investigate the relations between various factors of differentiation and data regarding the Turkish contractors have been used to demonstrate its applicability.
The results demonstrate that construction companies can differentiate on two modes of differentiation, either on “quality and image” or “product variety and speed”. Among the identified drivers, project management capabilities influence “product variety and speed related differentiation” and “quality and image related differentiation” directly; corporate management affects “quality and image related differentiation” directly, whereas corporate management influences “product variety and speed differentiation” indirectly. “Resources” has a strong direct effect on project and corporate management, in addition “resources” influences “product variety and speed related differentiation” and “quality and image related differentiation” modes indirectly through corporate and project management.
Research findings may help companies to choose an appropriate differentiation mode considering their strengths and weaknesses related with the drivers. Although findings reflect the competitive environment prevailing in the Turkish construction industry, it is believed that the parameters identified in this study can further be used as a benchmark to conduct similar studies in other countries.