|dc.description.abstract||Choosing a strategic location for business operations has always been of critical interest to industry and commerce. The old economy heavily relied on the neoclassical economic theory to provide a set of guiding principles, and focused on proximity to material resources, transport and markets. However, many argue that the new information economy must be viewed through the prism of a different paradigm. The new economy is highly dependent on technological infrastructure, organisational networks and intellectual capital. This thesis critically examines the implications of the new economy for location decision-making from a marketing perspective. It seeks to identify factors that influence the location decision-making process of key industries. The research attempts to address the following broad research problem: How do key industries choose a location for operating their business?
The research focus is directed to examining the interrelationships between the determinants of the decision making process which comprises:
Regional specific location factors;
Key decision makers and their influence; and
The organisational structures of firms
A theoretical framework is proposed which has been developed from the selected literature in the disciplines of economic geography, regional economics and organisational behaviour. It aims to provide a framework to empirically identify factors that influence the decision-making process to that assist in clarifying the determinants of the locational decision-making process.
It has not been the objective of this research to test the complete model. However, the following research issues are considered:
What are the factors that have influenced location decisions of different key industries and firms?
How do firms undertake information processing prior to making their decision?
Who is involved in making the location decision for these firms and how do they influence the location decisions?
What is the role of the organisational structure of firms in the location decision-making processes?
This thesis comprises a study of five 'new economy' industries: Information Technology; Electronic/Telecommunications; Biotechnology; Creative/ Multimedia and Aviation. A sequential mixed qualitative-quantitative methodology was chosen for conducting the study. This comprised the use of an expert panel focus group, one-on-one in-depth interviews and a mail survey.
Both six research questions and hypotheses were formulated to examine the following areas:
1) The relative important location factors with respect to their industry sector, headquarters' location and business activity involvement.
2) The relative important information sources with respect to their industry sector, headquarters'' location, and size.
3) The information evaluation process undertaken with respect to the firm's size.
4) Number of criteria used for selecting a specific location with respect to different size of firms.
5) The personnel significantly involved in the decision-making process with respect to their industries sector, headquarters' location and size.
6) The impact of the perception of key decision makers on the timeline set for the decision.
7) The impact of the perception of key decision makers on the information evaluation process.
8) The role of the organisational structures of firms in their location decision making processes.
The research concluded that the four determinants of the decision process are all interrelated. In particular, the organisational structure of firms was seen to play a predominant role in the location decision-making process.
The research outcomes have implications for further theory development, as well as for government policy making and related industry decision making. The findings of the interrelationships between the four determinants of the decision-making process imply that the location decision-making process of firms is a result of a combination of factors. The research outcomes will improve understanding of the location decision of key industries, and contribute to increased knowledge in the area of further theory development.
The research could assist regional and local governments by allowing them to target overseas and interstate investors. Understanding the factors that determine the firms best-fit would assist in improving the provision of salient decision making information and aid in targeting and reaching key decision makers.
Increasing the understanding of location decision-making processes of key industries, including noting the differences between firms, would assist the recipient local industries in developing appropriate strategies and enable them to provide suitable facilities and offer better services.
The results of the research also provide insights into individual companies in developing location decision-making criteria, processes and procedures.||