Contribution of unique features of mass housing projects to project team communication performance

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Several studies exploring delivery success on mass housing projects continue to cite communication ineffectiveness inherent in the unique attributes of mass housing as a major problem plaguing the delivery efforts. However, these notable studies fail to empirically establish the nature and extent to which the observed communication ineffectiveness are attributed to the unique features displayed by mass housing projects. In the light of mass housing approach being adopted as a veritable delivery strategy among developed and developing countries coupled with the significant role effective communication plays in project performance and success, the need to engender effective communication in mass housing delivery has engaged the attention of stakeholders in recent times. In the light of this recognition, emerging literature still continues to bemoan the lack of collaborative team effectiveness and delivery failures that are as a result of ineffective communication particularly on projects of unique particularities and characteristics such as Mass housing projects (MHPs). Against this background, there is a common assertion that, the knowledge and clear understanding of the extent and nature of communication ineffectiveness inherent in the unique features of mass housing projects will be a vital resource that can stimulate the effective planning of MHPs. Additionally, this understanding will thus be useful in the adoption of procurement strategies, decision making, communication management, skill development and contract design necessary to influence the needed communication performance among the project participants and stakeholders on MHPs. With the paucity in earlier studies and knowledge gap identified, this study has been undertaken to empirically determine the contribution of the unique features of MHPs to communication ineffectiveness among the project team in its delivery. By adopting the attribution theory of communication performance supported by the ‘Hofstede’s cultural framework’ on communication in project teams, external and internal factors were identified as the two main ‘causal locus’ attribution of communication performance outcome among the project team. This led to the development and adoption of appropriate theoretical concepts and framework which draw on the attribution theory, communication performance model and the unique features of MHPs. This subsequently established the conceptual evaluative measurement model for the study. By focusing on the external factors herein being the unique features of MHPs, a quantitative research methodology was employed in investigating the primal contribution of the unique features of MHPs to the project team communication effectiveness. Through the use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) as the analytical approach to assessing communication ineffectiveness, the results revealed vii Multiple Construction Sites Management Style, Multiple Geographical Location for Various Schemes and Network of Procurement Systems as the unique features that significantly contribute to information flow communication ineffectiveness. Likewise, the Multiple Construction Sites Management Style, Housing Unit Design Contract Packaging, Network of Procurement Systems and Repetitive Tasks Management Delivery Strategy features were found to significantly induce information composition related communication ineffectiveness. From the results, it revealed that the unique attributes of MHPs induces about 70.4% of the variance in information composition communication ineffectiveness. In respect of information flow communication ineffectiveness, a variance of about 57% was due to the influence of the unique characteristics of MHPs. These findings have empirically affirmed that, the causal influence of the unique attributes of MHPs to communication ineffectiveness cannot be ignored or underestimated in MHP delivery. It further informs the need for project teams and stakeholders on mass housing to deviate from ‘all-fit all’ approach and develop bespoke approach to engender communication effectiveness on MHPs. It also provides insights into the mass housing unique features related communication ineffectiveness among the project team thus providing crucial knowledge necessary towards adapting suitable communication planning, management strategies, concepts & approaches, methods and media, that fit the mass housing project environment to engender managerial and communication efficiencies in mass housing delivery.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Construction Management, 2015
Mass housing project, Communication ineffectiveness, Unique project features