The Human Side of Construction Management a Critical Review of Human Resource Management Effectiveness in the Ethiopian Construction Industry

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The construction industry is a large business segment that plays a crucial role in the national development of countries and is particularly paramount in developing economies where there is lack of infrastructure. In Ethiopia, the construction industry suffers from lack of properly educated manpower, deficiencies in construction management skills, inefficient utilization of already trained manpower and a host of other problems. This research is an exploratory investigation of human issues that contribute for the successful completion of construction projects in Ethiopia. Human factors in construction, such as organizational ambience, motivation, leadership and team building practices that help for the better utilization of the resource were assessed. A survey method, using questionnaire and interview techniques, was used to capture employees' attitudes as well as data on employee turnover, absenteeism, lateness and accident rates. The results of the study showed that employees have good job satisfaction. Employee turnover was observed to be low. Peculiar arrangements for work attendance, whereby the 'psychological contract' of work between employers and employees is observed to work out well, are found to be in place. Substantial number of accidents, out of which some were fatal, has been reported. The 'human resource climate' was found out to be conducive as indicated by the level of job satisfaction and employee turnover. Higher self-actualization needs of employees have been catered for through a high degree of freedom in performing tasks and challenging tasks. Employees however perceived that they don't receive a fair amount of pay. The predominant leadership style was found to pe a lassesfaire type but with more task- rather than people-orientation. Team building practices were observed to be low with employees perceiving low team atmosphere, participative meetings and decision-making practices. In order to effectively and efficiently utilize the human resource in the industry, companies are recommended to (1) cater to the basic needs of employees by providing a fair amount of pay, (2) incorporate incentives to tie performance with rewards, (3) have managers with professional training and experience which practice 'people-oriented' leadership style. Such managers would pursue 'wealth-maximization' goals, which focus on effectiveness and visionary leadership than on efficiency and management, (4) improve team atmosphere in their organization for creating effective communication and conflict resolution platforms, and (5) put in place safety policies and ensure their implementation to decrease accident rates.



Construction Industry, Human Resource