Last edited 22 Mar 2021

Decision making units in the construction industry

[edit] Introduction

A decision-making unit (DMU) is a team of people within an organisation who play a role in the business-purchase decision-making process for products and services. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘buying centre’ of an organisation.

The term decision-making unit originates in B2B marketing but has now spread into consumer and service applications. .

Typically, a decision-making unit may comprise:

  • Specifiers – usually define the sort of product that is required, possibly using broad-brush-stroke outlines.
  • Influencers – usually have a persuasive role in the decision-making process. They can set preconditions which may be as a result of their knowledge and experience. They may be consultants employed by the organisation to help the decision-making process. Informal influencers can include acquaintances, friends and family members.
  • Buyers – responsible for purchasing, sourcing and negotiating with suppliers.
  • Gatekeepers – usually search for information, determine what type of information will be delivered to certain players and pass it on to decision makers further up the line. Can strongly influence the decision-making process.
  • Deciders – e.g senior managers who have the final say, make the final deal, ultimately responsible for choosing the supplier or the decision, placing the order having reviewed information passed on from those further down the line.
  • Users – these can be both employees and customers. Because they use the goods and services, their feedback can exert influence on the specification of future products.

Not all of the above roles will be involved in some decisions and it is also possible that one person may perform more than one role. Decision-making powers may not be evenly spread throughout the DMU: some may have more authority than others

[edit] The construction DMU

The typical DMU in the construction sector is more complex than those in B2B markets. This is usually because the team responsible for designing, selecting, buying and installing products is usually specially compiled for a single project.

The key players in a construction-sector DMU may include:

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

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