An assessment of the organization structure and leadership effects on construction projects' performance in Kenya: a case study of public building projects within Nairobi region
Kenya as a country has witnessed substantial increase in the number of stalled projects due to inappropriate project organisation structures and ineffective leadership. There is evidence that the performance of the construction in Kenya is poor as time and cost performance of projects are to the extent that over 70% of the projects initiated are likely to escalate in time with a magnitude of over 50% and over 50% of the projects likely to escalate in cost with a magnitude of over 20%. The study relied on organization theory and attempts to explain how the organizations are actually structured and offers suggestions on how they can be constructed to improve their effectiveness in terms of project management systems and effective leadership. The conceptual framework was composed of all the factors which influenced the performance of public building projects as illustrated in Figure 2.7. The Ministry of Public Works has been used as a case study. The study adopted descriptive survey techniques to examine the performance of the public building construction in Kenya with particular focus on the project management organization structures, project management functions, effect of leadership in terms of competency characteristics, behavioural styles and emotional stability, culture of the organization and its influence on the internal and external environment. The study covered projects within Nairobi Region with contract figures of Kshs. 100,000,000 and above, completed or being implemented between the years 2000 and 2010. In addition the study assessed the risks inherent on construction projects in Kenya and their impact on projects' performance. Both primary and secondary data were sought and analyzed in an attempt to predict the cause of poor performance in the building sub-sector. The study was based on the Null Hypothesis (Ho) that 'inappropriate project organisation structures and ineffective leadership are the root causes of poor project performance'. From the study, the performance rate in terms of completion time stands at 11.1 % over the period 2000 - 2010. The results show that lack of appropriate project organization structures, poor management systems and leadership are the major causes of poor project performance. The current project organization for public projects is outdated and not in line with the best practices worldwide. The project leaders are endowed with technical skill but lack the other basic project management skills of dealing with the human, culture and environmental sides of the project. The leadership style in MoPW is quite authoritarian as 48.39% of the respondents report that team members are closely supervised through formalized bureaucratic structures. The researcher recommends the establishment of appropriate project organization structures and formulation of policy within the MoPW for the appointment of competent and visionary project leaders and re-training of public building project leaders on leadership skills and risk management to improve on timely service delivery. From the findings, it can be concluded that there is need to overhaul the incumbent project organisation structure for public projects and the management systems and also train the professionals on leadership skills to enhance the performance of the construction industry.