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Management competencies, complexities and performance in engineering infrastructure projects of Pakistan

Muhammad Sajid Khattak (Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Usman Mustafa (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, Pakistan)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 29 May 2019

Issue publication date: 2 August 2019




The complexity of projects has become a serious issue and obstacle in their successful completion. In order to overcome these complexities, it has become imperative to identify the relevant management competencies of project managers. The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of cost, time and scope in engineering infrastructure projects due to their complexities through management competencies.


In the first phase of the study, 32 experts were interviewed through semi-structured pre-tested questionnaire. In this phase, essential elements of complexities were identified initially. This was followed by finding required dimensions of competencies to counter these complexities and to acquire improved performance. In the final stage, required levels of competencies for specific elements of complexity were identified. In the second phase, 85 “project managers” were also approached to get feedback about their recently completed public sector engineering infrastructure projects in Pakistan.


The study identified additional dimensions, i.e. honesty, enthusiasm and dedication, in the case of competencies and adverse law and order situation, political instability, land issues, energy crisis and weak authorization of project managers in the case of complexities. Leadership, management skill, communication skill, effectiveness and result orientation were identified as top quality traits required. The study concluded that there is a significant impact of management competencies and complexities on project performance.


The study contributes to a better understanding of how to improve performance in complex engineering infrastructure projects through adopting management competencies. It also empirically illustrates the relations among project management competencies, complexities and project performance. Although the research is grounded on public sector infrastructure projects, its findings may also be helpful for practices in project management of other sectors.



Khattak, M.S. and Mustafa, U. (2019), "Management competencies, complexities and performance in engineering infrastructure projects of Pakistan", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 26 No. 7, pp. 1321-1347.



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