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Factors influencing the culture of a construction project organisation: An empirical investigation

N.A. Ankrah (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
D. Proverbs (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
Y. Debrah (School of Business and Management, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 9 January 2009

6464

Abstract

Purpose

It is widely recognised that improving project delivery in construction requires a consideration of the culture within the project organisation that is often associated with fragmentation, antagonism, mistrust, poor communication, finger‐pointing, machismo, and sexism. Many have thus called for cultural change on construction projects. However, change can only take place when there is an understanding of the drivers of culture within the construction project organisation (CPO). Given the argument in cultural theory that culture reflects distinct adaptations to the environments in which people operate, this research seeks to look for empirical evidence that the culture of the CPO is associated with particular features of construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methodology approach was employed with qualitative data collected through semi‐structured interviews, and quantitative data on project features and cultural orientations collected through a questionnaire survey of UK contractors.

Findings

Factor analysis revealed five principal cultural dimensions: workforce orientation, performance orientation, team orientation, client orientation, and project orientation. It was found that these five dimensions are associated with a number of key project features, in particular project size, complexity, influence of participants like the quantity surveyor, client and main contractor, the level of importance of cost and health and safety (H&S), location, and the number of variations. Significantly, no evidence was found to confirm that the procurement approach adopted influenced culture.

Originality/value

The findings provide some insight into the cultural consequences of project features, awareness of which is essential if appropriate strategies are to be developed to mitigate the negative impacts of culture.

Keywords

Citation

Ankrah, N.A., Proverbs, D. and Debrah, Y. (2009), "Factors influencing the culture of a construction project organisation: An empirical investigation", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 26-47. https://doi.org/10.1108/09699980910927877

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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