Roles in the Construction Industry

Roles in the Construction Industry

rc.pngThe participants in the construction industry include clients, consultants and contractors. Each of these participants may be organisations with differing loyalties and goals. The construction project, however, brings them together. The backwardness and harshness of the construction industry in relation to other industries have been acknowledged (Tazelaar and Snijders 2010; Zhang and Hu 2011). The industry has been severally criticised as being slow in response to innovation. The poor customer-focus and perceived shortcomings of the industry have also been sources of concern to practitioners. As a result, studies and commissions have been set up with a view to improving performance in the industry. Furthermore, globalisation which is real and has been described as irreversible is opening up or challenging opportunities and the way things are done (Ogunlana and Chareonngam 2003). The report of the construction task force, set up in Britain in 1998, on rethinking construction acknowledged that while the British construction industry matches other construction industries in the world in its ability to deliver difficult and innovative projects, the industry is under-achieving, delivering low profitability and investing too little in capital, research, development and training. The report also underscored the need for quality and improvements in efficiency partly in an attempt to increase customer satisfaction. The industry manifestly lags behind other industries in other sectors. The vision enunciated in the report was not that the UK construction industry should do better than what it was already doing, but that the stakeholders involve in a radical change that would make the industry within a set time frame deliver its products to its customers in the same way as the best consumer-led manufacturing and service industries (Constructing Excellence 2009). It is in this context, that this research is driven by the principle of benchmarking the industry with other efficient industries. As a result, concepts and practices that work and enhance improvements in other sectors can be studied and adapted to the construction industry not only of Britain but also other nations of the world. This is further justified by the unabated effect of globalisation on business practices and organisational development. As a build up on the report on “Rethinking Construction”, Constructing Excellence emphasised the need for innovation and modernisation in processes and products for the UK industry. Ogunlana reflected on how nations use the construction industry to promote development and suggested strategies to improve efficiency. He also reported the under-performance of the industry in Nigeria. As the Nigerian construction industry is not isolated from the local and international economy, the need for benchmarking with other industries is reinforced. The need to maintain or improve competitive advantage warrants this study: an examination of formal learning processes (FLPs) in the industry. This study thus has the potential of contributing to the body of knowledge on organisational learning in Nigerian construction industry. 2 Literature Review on Organisational Learning and Learning Organisation

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