Management for Resilience: The Case of the North Cyprus Construction Industry

  • Belkis Yapicioglu

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis aims to understand how owner-managers of SMEs in a developing country manage their organizations in a turbulent environment, and how they seek to create resilience in their organizations in this context. Specifically, this thesis investigates the major factors influencing the management strategies of infrastructure construction sector SMEs in North Cyprus. The primary data for the research was collected from owner-managers of infrastructure construction SMEs in North Cyprus that held a Class-1 classification in the sector, allowing them to participate in infrastructure projects in North Cyprus. Twelve SMEs with Class-1 classification are identified in the Building Construction Association of North Cyprus (CT-BCA), of which nine out of twelve consented to participate in the research. A qualitative research approach was adopted, with primary data gathered through face-to-face semi-structured interviews with these owner-managers; the collected data was then subjected to thematic analysis. The research found that the most influential factors influencing the management strategies of SMEs in North Cyprus were the macro characteristics of the socio-political environment, the individual characteristics of the owner-managers, and the characteristics of the infrastructure construction sector itself. These factors, which are linked in deep and nuanced ways, were discovered to impact the perceptions of the owner-managers and to affect their approaches towards the management of their SMEs. By evaluating the interaction between these factors, this research identified that infrastructure construction SMEs in North Cyprus operate in a complex system, where the approach to their management is identified as dissipative. Overall, the findings indicate that SMEs in North Cyprus take a reactive approach to management within this complex system, an approach that is itself related to ever-changing relationships between the key individual and environmental factors mitigating owner-managers' personal, sectorial and wider country circumstances. In this complex context, these SMEs cannot follow a systematic approach to management. Therefore, the resilience of these SMEs is found to lie in the adaptation of management strategies of SME owner-managers in the presence of disturbances, by experimenting and adjusting themselves in the existence of disturbances throughout their history.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTherese Lawlor-Wright (Supervisor) & Francis Fenn (Supervisor)


  • Resilience
  • Management Strategy
  • SMEs
  • North Cyprus

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