Successful Real Estate Strategies For Multinationals

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The main research question: "Which real estate strategies have been successful for Dutch multinationals, and what can be learned from these successful strategies for the future"? Methodology: In order to answer this research question, both theoretical and empirical research is necessary. The theoretical research consists out of three chapters: business strategy, real estate strategy and economic context. The empirical research is based on four Dutch multinationals: Royal Ahold, AkzoNobel, Royal Shell and ING Group. This empirical research is a combination of document analysis, observations and multiple interviews, resulting in case descriptions. Subsequently, a cross case analyses will be made which, together with the theoretical research, will form the basis for the conclusions and recommendations. Conclusions: This research shows that when using a pro-active alignment, real estate is used as fifth resource in order to achieve organizational objectives. When a pro-active alignment is used, the chances increase that real estate strategies are more successful. Main reason is that real estate is used as fifth resource, and the fact that pre-determined organization- and real estate strategies are consistent and have a clear process and content, which makes real estate used more efficiently, provided that the context is supportive. However, this is not always the case. The research also shows that when using a re-active alignment, real estate is not used as fifth resource in order to achieve organizational objectives. Yet, the real estate strategies could still be successful. Research shows that sometimes, dependent on the combination of high contextual influences and type of organization, a re-active alignment is preferable. The research shows that the contextual influences are very important and always have to taken into consideration. The research shows that the context influences both the process and the content of both organizational- and real estate strategies. Based on this research, several context aspects that influence the organization could be presented: the 4th and 5th Kondratiev wave, market tendencies, governmental regulations, product demands, corporate image, and customers-whishes. It could be concluded that a successful real estate strategy does not have to consist out of certain pre determined themes. Successful real estate strategies are strategies that support the organizational objectives. The research shows that well-organized strategies with explicit themes (Like Ahold and Shell) often have a greater chance of success. In the case of AkzoNobel, the real estate strategies are context based and do not contain clear themes. Nevertheless, these strategies were successful too. For future successful real estate strategies, it could be stated that when designing a real estate strategy, one should investigate the context and possible future developments (for example scenario planning) and determine the possible threads and opportunities. Depending on the type of organization, branch and context influences, the decision should be made whether or not to use pro-active or re-active alignment.