An examination of strategic challenges and opportunities in the wood-based building product industry Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6969z409t

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  • The wood-based building products industry has experienced significant turbulence over the past several decades as a function of multiple forces including among others globalization, product and process innovation, and shifting customer and consumer interest and demands. Collectively, these changes have challenged the historical tenets which have defined industry strategy and competition in the realm of basic products and contributed to consolidation and labor reductions. Consequently, an onus has been placed on industry participants to better understand and adapt to the new competitive landscape or risk loss of competitive advantages built on the practices suited to historical tradition. However, a limited range of work that considers the machinations of turbulence and resulting strategic implications has been directed toward the industry particularly where differentiation of products is limited. A contributing factor for this deficiency is the relative stability that has defined the industry for generations due in part to limited strategic variation beyond cost and production, limited cycles of technological and product innovation, commodity nature of many products, and passive manner of consumption. Accordingly, there is value in work that takes a critical and empirical view of industry changes in the context of both strategic and competitive implications, how participating firms address challenges, and what factors influence consumer purchase decisions. This work addresses this need through examination of each element, industry, firm, and consumer, in the context of turbulence, competition, and strategy and delineates previously unidentified considerations for competing in the new landscape. At the industry level, drivers of industry turbulence and subsequent strategic challenges, adaptations, and opportunities are identified and reviewed. Analysis suggests that improved strategy which considers organizational and product differentiation beyond cost and production efficiencies permits greater stability and increased leverage in the turbulent competitive environment. Recognizing a need for improved strategy, the firm level analysis employs a primary qualitative approach to isolate previously unidentified firm qualities analogous to successful deployment of a market orientation strategy using the resource based view of the firm as a framework for analysis. Connecting strategy to the consumer and product, theoretical consumer behavior constructs (consumption, behavior, and involvement) were connected to conceptualize dimensions of product differentiation capable of holding consumer appeal and acting as behavioral drivers in the passively consumed arena of primary wood-based building products. Taken together this work provides a view of strategic considerations within the wood-based building product industry that extends beyond previous work in several ways. First, by considering industry environment, firm strategy, and consumer behavior and product differentiation collectively in the manner described, this work provides a more vertically complete strategic perspective for industry participants. Second, within each chapter, findings and case based examples relevant to each element are presented.
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