The relevance of market orientation in a consulting engineering organisation

Van Niekerk, Gerhard Henri (2001-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Consulting engineers in South Africa are currently faced with numerous trends that have a negative impact on their business. The volatility of world and especially SA markets have caused investors to adopt a "wait and see" approach as to investing in large developments. The result was that private sector developments were lagging behind and forced consulting engineers to compete for the available work and inevitably suffer from reduced turnover. A further trend, and maybe more serious one for some traditional consulting engineers, was the change in focus by the newly elected Government in the mid nineties. With the focus on social and upliftment issues, government funds were allocated to new infrastructure developments associated with these issues. This caused a radical reduction of funds allocated to traditional areas like roads and bridges, an area where traditional consultants were predominantly positioned. Government also introduced various other policies, like allocating work to affirmative business enterprises, in order to level the playing fields. This, combined with the reduced available funds, compounded the situation for traditional consulting engineers. The above situation created many challenges for consulting engineers, of which the most important one is that of securing work for the future and competing for the reduced amount of available work. This brought to the fore the issue of marketing, an area that was not previously given too much attention. Market orientation is therefore proposed in this study as a solution to the problems faced by consultants. This study will examine the present situation, provide a literature background to marketing orientation, consider the relevance of market orientation to the consulting engineering industry, and then finally if it is accepted that market orientation is relevant, propose a model that could be used in addressing the situation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Raadgewende ingenieurs word tans aan verskeie tendense blootgestel wat 'n negatiewe uitwerking op hul besigheid het. Die onbestendigheid in wêreld markte, en spesifiek die Suid Arikaanse mark, het veroorsaak dat beleggers 'n "wag en kyk" benadering begin volg het met betrekking tot grootskaalse ontwikkelings. Die resultaat hiervan was dat privaatsektor ontwikkelings tot 'n groot mate afgeplat het en raadgewende ingenieurs gedwing is om mee te ding vir die beskikbare werk en onvermydelik gebukkend te gaan onder verlaagde omset. 'n Verdere tendens, en moontlik meer ernstige een vir sekere raadgewende ingenieurs, was die verandering in fokus deur die nuut verkose Regering gedurende die middel negentien negentigs. Met die nuwe fokus op sosiale aangeleenthede en opheffing van agtergeblewe gemeenskappe, word regerings fondse hoofsaaklik toegewys aan nuwe infrastruktuur onwikkelings wat verband hou met die nuwe fokus. Dit het 'n radikale verlaging in beskikbare fondse veroorsaak wat tradisioneel aan areas soos paaie en bruê toegewys was, 'n area waarin raadgewende ingenieurs oorwegend gepositioneer was. Die Regering het ook verskeie ander beleidsmaatreëls ingestel, soos die toekenning van werk aan regstellende besighede, ten einde die speelveld gelyk te maak. Dit, gepaardgaande met die verlaagde beskikbare fondse, het die situasie verder vererger vir tradisionele raadgewende ingenieurs. Bogenoemde omstandighede het baie uitdagings aan raadgewende ingenieurs gestel, waarvan die belangrikste waarskynlik die sekerheid aangaande toekomstige werk en die gepaardgaande mededinging ten opsigte van die verminderde hoeveelheid beskikbare werk. Hierdie omstandighede het die bemarkings-kwessie na vore gebring, 'n area waaraan nie veel aandag in die verlede gegee is nie. Mark oriëntasie word gevolglik voorgestel in hierdie studie as 'n oplossing vir die probleme waarmee konsultante gekonfronteer word. Hierdie studie sal die huidige situasie waarin raadgewende ingenieurs hul bevind ondersoek, 'n agtergrond van mark oriëntasieliteratuur verskaf, die relevansie van mark oriëntasie vir die raadgewende ingerneurs bedryf ondersoek en dan laastens, indien dit aanvaar word dat mark oriëntasie relevant is, 'n model voor te stel wat gebruik kan word om die situasie aan te spreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49710
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