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Alshehri, A (2012) Conflict in architectural projects: diagnosis and avoidance, a study based on Saudi Arabian construction industry, Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering, University of Manchester.

  • Type: Thesis
  • Keywords: conflict; project management; building projects; public sector; Saudi Arabia
  • URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/files/54534698/FULL_TEXT.PDF
  • Abstract:
    The main purpose of this research project was to bridge the existing knowledge gap in the empirical identification and understanding of how conflict occurs between key project parties within Saudi Arabia’s public sector building projects. Such conflict has become an increasingly endemic feature within the last 20 years, and this research project provides a contribution in knowledge terms which will help to overcome the obstacles and challenges impeding growth and development in the field. This was achieved by conducting an investigation to provide the theoretical background about the antecedents of conflict and presenting a number of project management suggestions to avoid or minimise. Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches were utilised in this study. The qualitative research data was obtained from 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews with four types of key project party, namely, project owners, consultants, contractors and sub-contractors. This was followed by two separate questionnaire surveys. The first was a means of validating conflict data obtained from the interviews, and the second was used to test Project Management - PM data. In this part of the study, 672 questionnaires were sent to various people engaged in the Saudi Arabian construction industry. The response rate was 46% (n = 310). In terms of the interview data, a total of 349 data items were derived and from these data items, 30 general themes emerged concerning various causes of conflict and the latent conditions of conflict, providing descriptions of what and how conflicts arise within Saudi Arabian public building projects. From these general themes, 31 recommendations for strategic project management processes are made, with the intention of preventing or at least minimising conflict. The quantitative survey conducted to test these project management strategies (recommendations) revealed that all of them were supported. The study subsequently produced a cyclical framework of conflict avoidance, derived from the research methodology used in the study, and this is outlined to enable project building participants, whether individuals, groups, or organisations, to improve their project management strategy from project to project. The research recommends that: generally, certain project management strategies should be implemented in the earlier phases of a project in order to promote conflict avoidance behaviours or at least to effect a reduction in these. Furthermore, strategic actions are required to deal with the latent condition-related issues in respect of building projects in the Saudi Arabian context. In this case, reforms to current practices are required to improve the performance within the building industry. It is also recommended that further research be undertaken to explore other latent conditions of conflict and conflicts themselves to develop additional project management strategies aimed at managing the causes of conflict.