Theoretical framework for determinants of A/E/C firm value, strategy and continuity: an analysis incorporating corporeal, volitional and knowledge assets
Beard, Jeffrey L.
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This research project endeavors to frame a methodology that can be used to categorize firm value strategies (production logics) and choices of factor inputs (tangible and intangible assets), which are used to fuel production cycles for goods and services outputs. A secondary goal of the research is to attempt to determine what asset group combinations (resources) are combined by various classes of firms to produce sustainable outcomes for the A/E/C firms in the survey. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently issued a system of national accounts (acknowledging both tangible and intangible assets) that reflects the macro-economy but at the same juncture, lamented the fact that a firm-level micro-economic schema did not exist to mirror the national system. This study makes an effort to redress that void by investigating how such a system of accounts - measured on the input side of the ledger -- could begin to fill in a gap in information and understanding as pointed out by participants in the National Academy of Sciences symposium of 2009 entitled "Intangible Assets: Measuring and Enhancing Their Contribution to Corporate Value and Growth." In brief, the research represents an effort to make a contribution to a growing body of knowledge about intangible assets by solidifying a framework within which both tangible and intangible assets may be more appropriately conceptualized and more adequately measured for purposes of current and future investigations. The research also provides a methodology for beginning to understand how some design and construction industry firms rely on specific asset categories for operating success, corporate stock value and business continuity. It is conceivable that managers would use a variation of the methodology to better balance ongoing investments in their firm's portfolio of tangible and intangible resources. The mixed methods used in this research support the following conclusions: 1) In terms of rank order of asset deployment categories by firms, intangible assets appear to have a modest edge over tangible assets for deployment by value shop firms (architecctural and engineering design firms), but these emphases are not consistent among value chain-oriented (construction) firms. 2) Although pronounced differences were expected, there was little evidence of differences in rank order of asset category accumulation and deployment by firms (according to the Delphi panel) regardless of whether the firm was focused on continuity and longevity or (alternatively) short-term profit maximization. 3) Because of their ambidexterity in production logic, the expert panel had difficulty placing EPC (Engineer - Procure - Construct), design-build and integrated services firms in a single Stabell - Fjeldstad value logic category, and a new composite category was posited based on Delphi panel feedback.
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