Influence of Leadership Styles on Timely Completion of Road Construction Projects in Kenya: a Case of Norken Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya
Many projects continue to fail despite the huge investment and use of established project methods and techniques, as the leadership competency required for successful project performance have been found lacking. A project’s success or failure is in part, based on effectively managing the constraints of scope, time, costs, and quality expectations. In order to achieve this, it is essential that the project manager possess and display appropriate project management leadership. Empirical literature indicates no evidence of research on leadership styles as a factor influencing the completion of road construction projects. In most road construction projects in Kenya, it has been observed that they are not completed on set timelines despite Kenya government engaging Consultants to manage roads on its behalf. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether leadership styles applied by consultant’s project managers affected the timely completion of construction projects in Kenya. The study investigated if authoritative, authoritarian, democratic and permissive leadership stylesapplied by Consultants’ project manager’s influenced the timely completion of these construction projects in Kenya .Four research questions were formulated to guide the study. The target population for this study consistedof 36 Norken staff and24 projects seconded staff in the five construction projects whose contract period had elapsed. The research used a descriptive cross-sectional survey design. Stratified sampling technique was used to select the samples and data collected using structured questionnaires. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analyzed thematically using content analysis.The study may be useful to Government roads agencies, Consultants and road contractors in Kenya in understanding the impacts of variousleadership styles on construction management as well as construction professionals to understand influence of their leadership in timely completion of road projects. The study deduced that aspects of transformative leadership like proactiveness in finding solutions to challenges, establishing good working relations between contractors and consultants, advising client to pay contractors on time and consensus building accelerates projects progress. Also it concluded that Autocratic leadership delays completion of road projects due to high turnover of key staff, poor working relations with contractors, staff low morale and lack of commitment to work since project manager does not entertain queries on design errors, missing items in Bill of Quantitates and conflicting instructions to the contractor. It was established that project managers employing democratic leadership complete their projects earlier or within contract period due to regular consultations on design reviews, evaluation of contractor invoices and claims, decision making and delegation of duties making the whole process all inclusive. Finally on Permissive leadership, the study revealed that when staff are allowed to develop procedures for quality control, work methods, verification of contractors invoices and design reviews without consulting project manager, they expose client to financial and time extension claims, many centers of power arise as well as corruption through inflation of Bill of Quantitates thus delaying completion of road projects. The study recommends use of Transformative and democratic leadership’s together in construction projects as they scored highly from respondents below 40years representing 67% of respondents who do not want to be micro managed but need considerable freedom to perform tasks with guidance of project manager. The study also recommended that all senior staff should possess a minimum of postgraduate diploma in project management before being deployed to road construction projects. Finally, Permissive leadership should be discouraged as it exposes clients to claims for money and extension of time, corruption though inflation of bill of Quantitates by contractors as well as creating many centers of power making road construction inefficient.
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