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STRATEGIC CORPORATE REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND TEACHING: DEFINING DIMENSIONS OF PRACTICE

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STRATEGIC CORPORATE REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND TEACHING: DEFINING DIMENSIONS OF PRACTICE
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   p.1 STRATEGIC CORPORATE REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND TEACHING: DEFINING DIMENSIONS OF PRACTICE Chris Heywood  Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne,  Melbourne, Victoria, 3010, Australia. Contact author c.heywood@unimelb.edu.au  Russell Kenley  Australian Graduate School of Enterprise, Swinburne University of Technology,  Melbourne, Victoria, 3122, Australia. ABSTRACT Strategic corporate real estate management (CREM) is an emerging property discipline with a concomitant evolution in its body of knowledge. There have been  past attempts to define that body of knowledge, but much of the literature examines individual practices in isolation without locating them in a coherent, overarching theoretical framework suitable for strategic CREM. From a study of CRE and competitiveness, 179 defined practices were clustered into 11 clusters of similar practice types and linked within a framework that supported strategic approaches to the management of CRE. This framework and its defined practices describe a body of knowledge that  became the basis of teaching CREM at the University of Melbourne. A final year undergraduate Facility Management subject has included aspects of CRE since 1999, and a standalone, postgraduate CRE subject was taught for the first time in 2006. This subject emphasises strategic and competitive practices in students’ case study research. Keywords: body of knowledge, corporate real estate, definitions, management  practices, teaching INTRODUCTION The requirement for property for business’ operational purposes is as ancient as the doing of business itself. However, the formalisation of operational or corporate real estate (CRE) practices is relatively recent. Corporate real estate management (CREM) is an emerging property discipline that is evolving towards managing operational property more strategically. While CRE exists in its own right as a   p.2 discipline on the demand-side of the property industry understanding it should be of interest to the supply-side’s construction and design as this matches calls for the supply-side’s greater understanding of clients and their processes (Green, 1996;Green and Simister, 1999). As a result of its evolving practice, CREM’s body of knowledge has also evolved to include more strategic management practices. There have been attempts in the  past to define CRE’s body of knowledge (CREBoK) as a whole (Brown et al. (1993) is a signal example), but much of the CRE literature examines individual  practices in isolation without reference to a coherent, overarching theoretical framework suitable for strategic CREM. This paper reviews those previous attempts at defining a CREBoK, as a precursor to reviewing the literature of CRE  practices and presenting a framework developed for locating CRE practices for strategic purposes that usefully also defines the CREBoK. The paper goes on to illustrate this framework’s utility in CREM teaching and research. ‘BODIES OF KNOWLEDGE’ General Bodies of Knowledge are a distinguishing feature of professions. 1  Usually, built environment professional Bodies of Knowledge are not codified. Instead, they are more informal and ad-hoc, being embedded in the professions’ practices. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is unusual as a formalisation that is applicable to built environment professionals. Some professions codify elements of their body of knowledge in best practice guidelines, that evolve based on research, within a paradigm of evidence-based  practice, for instance: the medical professions. Evidence-based practice is less well used in management (Pfeffer and Sutton, 2006), and even less well known in management in built environment contexts. Though this is changing as more research is done, many built environment fields remain under-theorised and with incompletely defined Bodies of Knowledge. 1  Other features of traditional professions include: Academic education, a code of ethics, and remuneration on the basis of service provided to clients.   p.3 A CRE specific Body of Knowledge There are suggestions that a defined CRE-specific Body of Knowledge (a CREBoK) would be useful (Tim Frederico, personal communication), but there have been few attempts to so. Traditional texts, such as Brown et al. (1993), Silverman (1987) and Nourse (1990), tend to define CRE practice in terms of tasks to perform. While this is useful in managing CRE operations they incompletely capture what is required for strategic CREM. The so-called ‘Roulac Real Estate Body of Knowledge (REBoK) Framework,’ while claiming to be a generalist real estate knowledge framework, includes a CRE awareness as evidenced by its inclusion of ‘space users’ (Roulac, 1995). That ‘framework’ treats property as an artefact with a resultant spread and type of knowledge required to make RE decisions. However, as practices for managing that property thereafter are not considered the ‘framework’ could not constitute a CREBoK, because of CREM’s decision-making and ongoing management dimensions. The evolution towards strategic CREM has enlarged what is asked of CREM, and therefore its requisite practices, with business and property skills emphasised (Kenley et al., 2000b). These practices change as CREM evolves towards strategic levels (Joroff et al., 1993). Recently, it was suggested that CRE skills now needed to include, among other things, change management, corporate strategy, customer relationship management, and supply chain management skills (Berney, 2007). More recent CRE texts, produced at a time of greater awareness of strategy and CREM, have: ã   Inferred a body of knowledge by analysing CRE in terms of property types, uses, and the institutional arrangements (Edwards and Ellison, 2003);   ã   Defined some dimensions of practice and illustrated the operation of  practices in case studies (Weatherhead, 1997); and ã   Examined the strategic orientation and environments of organisations from a CRE perspective. Illustrative case examples within chapters contain some evidence of practices (O'Mara, 1999).   Otherwise, the CRE literature tends to focus on individual practice’s operation (for example: Rodriguez and Sirmans (1996), Noha (1993), Manning et al. (1997), and   p.4 Allen et al. (1993)) without connecting to other practices within a coherent framework. Annual surveys of CREM practices (Bon et al., 2002;Bon and Luck, 1998;Bon and Luck, 1999;Gibson and Luck, 2006) do map dimensions of practice, without necessarily providing an overarching framework that could be considered a Body of Knowledge. Starting with the same survey, Varcoe (2000b) points towards domains of CREM practice (Figure 1, below), but does so in suggesting possible trends in workplace provision. 2  This model, cast as a general property industry one, does assume a space use (CRE) perspective, rather than an investment one. While defining domains of CREM practice, applicable practices are not noted, despite the initial connection with a survey of practices’ use.  Figure 1 Dimensions of CRE practice (after Varcoe (2000b, Figure 1)) 3   Portfolio Management(whole workplace entity) Asset Management(individual and clusters of facilities) O  r  g  a n i  s a t  i  o n a l  S  t  r  a t  e g   y   FacilityManagementDesignandOccupancyPlanningProjectManagementPropertyManagementConstructionServiceDeliveryManagementFacilityOperationsBusinessSupportServicesFacility Use PropertyProvision    W  o  r   k  p   l  a  c  e   M  a  n  a  g  e  m  e  n   t CIRHR IT Finance Legal CREFMCRE T   r  a n s a c  t  i  o n s    2  CIR  ©  in Figure 1 stands for Corporate Infrastructure Resources, a term used by the International Development Research Council (IDRC) to suggest the integration of various ‘non-productive’ resources required by organisations in order to operate (Joroff et al., 1993;Materna and Parker, 1998). The IDRC’s successor – CoreNet Global – uses IRIS (Integrated Resource and Infrastructure Solutions) for a similar concept (Dunn et al., 2004). 3  Varcoe published within an FM labelled context, but clearly CRE is attributable, given the use of CIR.
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