University of Limerick
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Creating opportunities in the face of an environmental jolt: exploring turnaround strategizing practices within large Irish construction contractors

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-09, 11:42 authored by Paul Tansey, JOHN SPILLANEJOHN SPILLANE, Tara Brooks
Firms that face organisational decline choreographed from an environmental jolt must seek new ways of creating opportunities in order to successfully turnaround. As such, the identification of pertinent turnaround strategies becomes increasingly important for senior management. Within the strategy-as-practice scholarly, there have been recent calls to move beyond empirical ‘isolationism’ and to connect with other larger social phenomena; while across the turnaround literature there have been calls to explore the process and microstructure of turnaround strategies in cyclical environments. To address this research gap, the purpose of the study is to adopt a tall ontology by blending the strategy-as-practice lens with the organisational decline and turnaround lens. By drawing on five exploratory case studies of large Irish construction contractors, the central objective is thus to explore firms’ turnaround strategising practices during an environmental jolt. In order to advance our tall ontology, we developed a turnaround strategising process model (and propositions) that integrates our findings, and which offers the fundamental building blocks of a new blended theory. We find that successful turnaround attempts entail the simultaneous interaction of non-aggressive cost retrenchment actions and non-extensive internationalisation. The case studies further suggest that during a prolonged environmental jolt, cost retrenchment is more often a long-term strategy. Lastly, the findings provide valuable support for practitioners in developing a successful turnaround response, and in aiding the selection and timing of operational and strategic actions.



Taylor and Francs Ltd




This is an Author's Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Construction Management and Economics. 2018 copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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