Business Transformation in the British Columbia Forest Industry


  • Alvaro Madero Natural-Trade Ltd., 309-1277 Lynn Valley Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7J 0A2
  • Alice M. J. Palmer Department of Wood Science, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 4610 – 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
  • John L. Innes Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Forest Sciences Centre 2004 – 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
  • David H. Cohen


Forest industry, business transformation, strategy, executive perceptions


This study aims to define the emerging concept of firm-level business transformation from the perspective of British Columbia-based forest sector executives, and to investigate its drivers, enablers, and barriers. The ten executives interviewed for the study generally defined transformation as the execution of different business strategies with the purpose of delivering significant performance improvement to the firm. Both strategic and operational changes could be considered transformational, depending on their impact over time. However, the executives stressed that operational efficiency should be used in combination with one of six other strategies, such as diversification of the product mix, entry into the bio-economy, sustained growth, market diversification, diversification of the geographic base of operations or adoption of a customer-driven focus. Transformational changes were initiated both to respond to market challenges, such as volatility and competition, and to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Several factors could serve as either enablers of or barriers to change: access to financial resources (or lack thereof), leadership, managers’ and employees’ attitudes toward change, and government policy. The risks associated with large capital outlays could be mitigated through benchmarking, collaboration, and careful timing. Drawing upon the scholarly business management, applied business management, and forest products business literatures, this study provides new insight into the emerging concept of business transformation.

Author Biography

David H. Cohen

Department of Wood Science, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 4644 – 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4


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