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Systems thinking and CMM for continuous improvement in the construction industry

Temitope Seun Omotayo (Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)
Prince Boateng (Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)
Oluyomi Osobajo (Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)
Adekunle Oke (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)
Loveline Ifeoma Obi (University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 23 September 2019

Issue publication date: 17 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a capability maturity model (CMM) developed to implement continuous improvement in small and medium scale construction companies (SMSCC) in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

A multi-strategy approach involving qualitative studies of SMSCC in Nigeria was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposively selected construction experts in Nigeria to identify variables essential for continuous improvement in SMSCC. Data collected were thematically analysed using NVIVO. Subsequently, a system thinking approach is employed to design and develop the CMM for implementing continuous improvement SMSCC, by exploring possible relationships between the variables established.

Findings

CMM provided a five-level approach for the inclusion of investigated variables such as team performance; culture; structure; post-project reviews, financial risk management, waste management policy and cost control. These variables are factors leading to continuous improvement in SMSCC, implementable within a six to seven and a half years’ timeline.

Practical implications

The system thinking model revealed cogent archetypes in the form of reinforcing loops that can be applied in developing the performance of SMSCC. Continuous improvement is feasible. However, it takes time to implement. Further longitudinal studies on the cost of implementing continuous improvement through CMM a knowledge transfer project can be initiated.

Originality/value

A methodical strategy for enhancing the effectiveness and operations of SMSCC in developing countries can be extracted from the causal loop diagram and the CMM.

Keywords

Citation

Omotayo, T.S., Boateng, P., Osobajo, O., Oke, A. and Obi, L.I. (2020), "Systems thinking and CMM for continuous improvement in the construction industry", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 69 No. 2, pp. 271-296. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-11-2018-0417

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited