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Nigeria’s construction industry: barriers to effective communication

Obuks Augustine Ejohwomu (Department of Management Technology, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria)
Olalekan Shamsideen Oshodi (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Ka Chi Lam (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 17 July 2017




Communication plays an important role in the quality of the relationship, trust and collaboration among construction project teams. Literature suggests that effective communication is vital for achieving improved project performance. The purpose of this paper is to identify and assess the barriers to effective communication in the Nigerian construction industry, using attribution theory paradigm.


Questionnaires detailing 15 barriers to effective communication were administered to consultants and contractors engaged in the Nigerian construction sector. In total, 100 valid responses were analysed using mean score, factor analysis and factor score.


Unclear project objectives, ineffective reporting systems and poor leadership were ranked as the most significant barriers to effective communication. Factor analysis uncovered that the principal reasons responsible for ineffective communication include: managerial and technical barriers and credibility and background barriers.

Practical implications

The results provide information on barriers which needs to be addressed in order to improve communication in construction projects in Nigeria. There is a need to conduct post-completion reviews of construction projects so that project team members can learn and share knowledge on past experiences. Although the present study was conducted in the Nigerian context, it is envisaged that the research outcome will be widely applicable to other developing countries.


The study provides insights on the perceived barriers to effective communication in Nigerian construction projects. The paper presents the direction for further research aimed at improving communication in construction projects in Nigeria.



The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editors for their suggestions and comments which improved this manuscript. The authors give sincere thanks to Maame A.W. Affare and Dr Emmanuel Adinyira for permitting the research team to adapt their questionnaire for this survey. Special gratitude is also extended to all of the construction organizations that participated in the survey. O.S. Oshodi thanks Patricia Kukoyi (NMMU), Emmanuel Itodo Daniel (NTU) and Olatunji Abisuga (LASPOTECH) for detailed feedback on earlier drafts of this paper.


Ejohwomu, O.A., Oshodi, O.S. and Lam, K.C. (2017), "Nigeria’s construction industry: barriers to effective communication", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 652-667.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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