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Exploring influential factors leading to the poor performance of public construction project in Ethiopia using structural equation modelling

Benti Gadisa (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)
Hong Zhou (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 1 September 2020

Issue publication date: 25 June 2021




It is well recognized that the construction industry is characterised by inefficient and ineffective service delivery due to various causative factors. Thus this study aims to examine the influential factors affecting public construction project performance in Ethiopia to improve the industry's service delivery.


From the extensive literature reviewed, 58 potential factors affecting construction project performance have been compiled. Based on the evidence accumulated, the conceptual model of this paper has been developed. By using survey questionnaires, valuable data were collected from the construction industry professionals in Ethiopia; analysed and interpreted with the use of both SPSS and AMOS software.


It is concluded that failure factors related to the “performance” of the contractor, the “capability” of the owner, the “project design-procurement process,” and project contract management can significantly contribute to the poor performance of public construction projects in Ethiopia. Ten key factors include inadequate contractor capacity, weak project site management and supervision, weak project management skills and capabilities of the owner, additional work orders, delayed payment, lack of comprehensive project plans between parties and incomplete project design, rising material prices, ineffective project schedules, and cost management, rising market prices and devaluation of the currency.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of this study confined to public projects in Ethiopia. It suggests that further research needs to consider public and private construction from a comprehensive perspective in the developing countries.

Practical implications

It provides practitioners with information and guidance on the factors that affect the performance of construction projects.


It provides inclusive evidence related to many factors that affect the performance of public construction projects.



The authors would like to express their cordial appreciations to the Ethiopian Road Authority, relevant departments of Oromia State (Urban Development, Road authority, and Water Sectors) and relative governmental agencies of Addis Ababa City (for road authority and housing project), for their strong support to facilitate the survey. We are also grateful to the various institutions for kindly accepting the interview and providing important information and required raw data, as well as the respondents to the questionnaire survey. This investigation cannot be successfully completed without their involvement. Finally, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions, which are quite valuable to improve the manuscript.


Gadisa, B. and Zhou, H. (2021), "Exploring influential factors leading to the poor performance of public construction project in Ethiopia using structural equation modelling", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1683-1712.



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