Breaking down the barriers – the participation puzzle

Flack, Colin (2018). Breaking down the barriers – the participation puzzle. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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The purpose of my study is to understand the presence and nature of barriers that prevent SMEs entering into and or trading successfully in the rail sector or slow their rate of progress. The corollary to this is to understand why the upper reaches of the sector, are so poor at managing and developing their suppliers.

My hypothesis is that the current difficulties in the supply chain are a direct result of the fragmentation caused by privatisation in 1992. Additionally, I address the hypothesis that a major barrier to entry for SMEs is the inadequate provision of testing and evaluation facilities.

My research has established that the consequences of fragmentation remain the primary barrier and that this
has fed an inclination towards exclusion and actions that amount to anti-competitive behaviour. The testing and trialling provision is thus but a small part of a wider malaise.

Based on my research I recommend that further work be done to align collective and individual objectives in the rail sector such that the inherent structural weaknesses can be over¬come through the application of challenge-based approaches. An important consequence of this would be to address the background political imperatives behind the privatisation of the sector, to adapt the structures in the light of a changing environment and to diminish the tactical interventions of governments by clarifying their over¬arching strategic role.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)


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