Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Construction Management and Economics, Vol. 31, No. 2, 151–166,


The role and usefulness of strategic planning has been documented over several decades of strategic management research. Despite the significant body of existing knowledge in the field of strategic planning, there remains limited empirical investigation of the construction sector, specifically professional service firms operating within it. The construction sector is hugely important to the Irish economy, yet until now, no empirical investigation has been undertaken to determine the strategic planning process in construction professional service firms in Ireland. A two-phase mixed methods study was undertaken to ascertain the extent of strategic planning within quantity surveying (QS) practices in Ireland. Characteristics of the strategic planning process differ between practices to such a degree that three groups of practices are apparent. Groups are differentiated along dimensions of size and ownership structure, which influence the generic strategies and competitive positioning of practices. Strategic planning process formality and the existence of a written plan are positively associated with large practices that form part of a global organization. Informal strategic planning is undertaken in practices without a written strategic plan but tends to be tactical (project-based) rather than strategic in nature. The realization of the need for systematic strategic planning in QS practices is, however, beginning to emerge, given the turbulent environment within which the firms are competing. While the conclusions are specific to the QS profession, the research has been designed such that it has potential to be applied to other professional service firms.