Pathways to enhanced value creation from the international technology transfer process in Thai construction projects

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ International technology transfer (TT) initiatives are essential for developing the necessary infrastructure which underpins the sustainable development of economics and living standards in newly industrialised and developing countries. However, these initiatives have rarely translated into enhanced capabilities and competitiveness within host country firms, resulting in a sustained reliance on foreign firms. With few clues as to how to effectively manage the TT process, many stakeholders from the construction sectors of developing countries lack direction on how to more rapidly diffuse best-practice technology. This paper aims to address the issues. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In an attempt to better understand, the international TT process on Thai construction projects a path model was developed and later implemented. The path model development stage utilised the questionnaire survey response of 162 Thai construction and engineering professionals that had exposure to construction projects which incorporated international TT initiatives. A rigorous statistical analysis process which employed ANOVA, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling was followed to formulate the robust path model. The path model implementation stage utilised a series of case studies to validate the significant path equations in the developed model. This stage solicited questionnaire survey responses from 47 Thai construction and engineering professionals working for five domestic firms which were contractually involved with foreign partners on four large construction projects. Findings ‐ The findings provide evidence that transferors must have appropriate characteristics (i.e. willingness, knowledge base, experience, management, etc.) for establishing solid relationships with the transferee. Moreover, relationship building (RB) between the transferor and transferee (i.e. trust, understanding, communication, etc.) is the key enabler to TT induced value creation for the host construction sector. Originality/value ‐ The developed model empirically explains interactions between TT process enablers and outcome factors in the construction context. The model can assist government and private sector organisations from developing and newly industrialised countries to better evaluate the TT induced value creation process for the host construction sector. In this context, improved TT evaluation can help such organisations to devise targeted strategies for accelerating rates of TT, which will ultimately decrease their reliance on foreign firms when procuring large-scale infrastructure projects.

Keywords: Construction operations; Developing countries; Information transfer; Thailand

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14714170810912671

Publication date: October 10, 2008

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