Football clubs as a model for the organization of a construction company

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The construction business is characterized by increasing complexity and requires a great deal of specialized knowledge from different areas of expertise. For example, in order to successfully manage a construction site, it is not only necessary to master the construction itself, but also numerous support processes such as purchasing, accounting or the legal situation. No one person masters all these topics, which is why the cooperation of many is crucial for success.

With regard to the organizational structure, in continental European practice it is often the case that the construction or project manager is solely responsible for results. Of course, he receives support for this from various departments and usually also has to adhere to a few company rules, but one often has the impression that compliance with these rules only comes to the fore when results are poor.

So let's turn to the world of soccer, specifically the role of the coach.

Here, there are two opposing models. In the English system, there is a "manager" who is responsible for everything and answers only to the owner's representative. Everyone else in the club only works for him.

This contrasts with the continental European system, where decisions are distributed. For example, a sports director conducts negotiations with players and their advisors. In some clubs, a specially installed CFO looks after the finances and defines the framework within which the managers have to operate when it comes to new signings and salary negotiations. The coach, on the other hand, ensures that the existing team works on the pitch and delivers the best possible results.

This year, English clubs are leading the Champions League, but a look at the last 10 years does not reveal any general superiority of the English system. For example, English clubs have only won the Champions League twice in that period, once very fortunately in a penalty shootout. In contrast, there have been six Spanish and two German victories. If one also takes into account the financial situation, which is not entirely unimportant for a profit-oriented company, there is much to be said for the German interpretation of the continental European system.

The fact that this system sometimes also has its difficulties was demonstrated in recent weeks by the example of FC Bayern, although due to my lack of knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes I will not allow myself to judge how great these difficulties were and how strongly they were influenced by the otherwise highly successful system.

In my opinion, as is so often the case here, sport can shine a light for the economy, in this specific case for construction companies. Thus, I hypothesize that a broader distribution of responsibility along the lines of the European soccer model would lead to better results. In this way, the construction manager and his assistants, alias foremen, would be able to concentrate on the game of his team, i.e. on the optimal construction process. Other activities such as purchasing, financing or even IT should be taken over by specialists in these fields. What is important, and here we come to the common ground with soccer, is that those responsible talk to each other and always fight side by side for the best possible result.