Case | HBS Case Collection | January 1990 (Revised June 1995)

Colliers International Property Consultants

by Nitin Nohria

Abstract

Describes the origins, organizational structure, management practices, and use of information technology (IT) in Colliers, a real estate network. Colliers provides local firms with a way to maintain local autonomy while gaining national and international coverage. Through the use of the network's IT, brokers are able to share information, provide consulting-type services, and refer brokers to Colliers brokers in other markets. While a network structure has certain benefits, it also poses control issues: How does the organization generate the full commitment of its members, many of whom are accustomed to working independently in their local market and are not accustomed to soliciting certain information from their clients, providing an expanded range of services, and sharing information with other brokers? If they maintain their network structure, in what ways can the organization grow without creating tensions or diluting its quality? How does such an entity resolve conflicts among its constituents? While many members believe this structure is best suited to prosper, others question the survival of Colliers as it is now.

Keywords: Property; Organizational Structure; Information Technology; Management Practices and Processes; Partners and Partnerships; Business Model; Mission and Purpose; Business Growth and Maturation; Conflict and Resolution; Quality; Real Estate Industry;

Citation:

Nohria, Nitin. "Colliers International Property Consultants." Harvard Business School Case 490-049, January 1990. (Revised June 1995.)