Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Social determinants of international competitive advantage: the case of Turkish contractors

Akdağ, Muhammed (2024) Social determinants of international competitive advantage: the case of Turkish contractors. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 21 May 2026.

Download (2MB)
Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004634


Turkish construction industry experienced a disproportionate growth in global markets between 2004 and 2017, almost quadrupling their share of world exports. This extraordinary success story is a puzzling case that cannot be straightforwardly explained by economic factors, since Türkiye is not known for having the lowest labour costs, highest access to financial resources or most advanced technologies in construction. To complement and extend the established approaches in the literature, this thesis examines social determinants of competitive advantage by building on arguments from institutionalist and network-based schools of thought and employing a nested mixed-methods comparative case study research design. The findings indicate that social determinants matter for creation of competitive advantage when considered in distinct configurations across different contexts and complement selected dimensions of Michael Porter’s (1990) National Diamond. Rather than consciously calculating demand, Turkish contractors extensively rely on signals from networks as proposed by Harrison White (1981, 2002), as well as institutional signals sourced from political, regulatory and cultural structures. They thrive in objectively bad institutional environments, by capitalizing on institutional similarities, mobilizing political ties and influences, adapting to local cultural conditions, and taking excessive risks. Their internationalisation performance significantly depends on interactions of institutional and interpersonal complementarities in host countries. The contributions of this thesis are fourfold. First, it adds substantially to the empirical body of knowledge by solving a real-life puzzle of extraordinary international growth of a national industry. Second, it develops a nuanced and testable framework for the sociology of competitive advantage. Third, it bridges different theoretical ideas from economic sociology, political economy and international business literatures, while extending theoretical arguments with new conceptual discoveries. Finally, it comparatively demonstrates advantages and disadvantages of using different methods in competitiveness research, as the first study that systematically applies regression, qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and thematic qualitative content analysis techniques.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2024 Muhammed Akdağ
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Pardo-Guerra, Juan Pablo and Pinzur, David

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics