Is Communication with Subcontractors Affected by the Management Style Adopted by the Main Contractor and Does This Impact on the Quality of the End Poduct – Literature review Example
Literature Review: Is communication with subcontractors affected by the management style adopted by the main contractor and does this impact on the quality of the end product?
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Communication is one of the imperative aspects of operations in an entity. Most of the success stories in the construction industry have been attributed to communication and consultation among the stakeholders. In most cases, management and communication styles are intertwined. The management style of the project manager determines the communication style he or she will employ (Fewing, 2009). Notably, Loosemore, Lingard and Dainty (2003) argues that the communication styles in the construction industry should be founded on a comprehensive apprehension of the ways that individuals collaborate in joint operations, the fundamental principles of social undercurrents and learning theory. Remarkably, numerous authors have attributed improved communication between management and subcontractors to operational effectiveness. In this case, the communication strategies employed by the management towards subcontractors have an effect on their motivation levels and affect the project building (Loosemore et al, 2003). Additionally, Walker (2011) takes the same stand by adding that ineffective communication strategy employed by management can result to problems in the production and construction and, therefore, defective project buildings. However, Loosemore et al (2003) and Walker (2011) fail to show the link between ineffective management style and ineffective communication between the project manager and the subcontractors.
In essence, construction projects are risky and complex. This makes them require active participation between the subcontractors and the management. Coordination of activities through group communication is imperative for successful completion of the project. Walker (2011) acknowledges that inappropriate communication strategies result to inadequate feedback and consultation, which are the root causes of defects of the final product. Fewing (2009) notes that constant flow of information between management and subcontractors are essential for proper management of construction projects. It is also significant for the information to be relayed fast.
Additionally, a study by Chen and Kamara (2008) identifies communication as one of the primary elements of management of construction projects. Notably, effective communication is imperative for the effective operation of any entity. This study acknowledges that poor communication strategies and the design of the information relayed results to design problems that lead to design problems or a defective end product. An interruption or failure in the information relayed results to problems that trigger poor work quality and low productivity. It is, therefore, significant for the project manager and subcontractors to institute a clear chain of communication for conveyance of information. A project manager should have a communication strategy that relays information on order requests and directives. In most cases, the communication should be in writing to avoid any instances of being forgotten. Additionally, this study notes that information should be communicated through appropriate channels to the right receivers without any delays. Arguably, construction takes place fast, and any mistakes or failures to communicate changes in plans or materials to be used will result to an expensive ripping off of the completed work or product or slowdown the process. Therefore, it is imperative to relay all the information required by engineers and architects to carry out their activities and deliver quality services.
Given that the construction sector is vibrant, fragmented, and heterogeneous, the difficulties of communicating efficiently are high than in almost all the other sectors (Fewing, 2009). Loosemore et al (2003) identifies that conflict, contractually driven associations, and deficiency in trust and respect are the factors that hinder open communication between project manager and the subcontractors. This makes the whole project extremely problematic to control and manage. This, in turn, according to Walker (2011), will have an effect on the project building. Communication in the construction sector has evolved over the past decades. Fewing (2009) shows that communication has gradually become an imperative aspect in construction project management. This has also been attributed by the development of technologies that can enhance communication between the manager, the engineer and architect. Fewing (2009) shows the different communication styles that are linked to numerous management styles. The most common management styles are persuasive, democratic, consultative and autocratic styles. This book offers an understanding of the communication styles that a manager is likely to use when he employs a certain management style.
In his book, Fewing (2009) shows that an autocratic manager is likely to use an aggressive communication style while a democratic manager is likely to use an assertive communication style. Additionally, more studies have focused on the significance of communication, thus making communication a vital element in the construction. Earlier management styles have been described as having been autocratic with no open communication between the manager and the subcontractors. At present, organizations have concentrated on the efficiency of their operations, which calls for a change in management style to a democratic one that allows effective communication. This book also offers a link between the management style and the communication style employed by project managers. Fewing (2009) also gives a review of how the different managerial styles affect the motivation levels of the subcontractors and how they affect the completion of the building projects. In the study by Chen and Kamara (2008), 58% of the projects investigated revealed that they failed to attain their objectives due to poor communication styles. The project architectures and engineers interviewed acknowledged that the project managers did not want to hear them out and this provoked alienation, resistance, lying, cover-up and sabotage. These were the primary causes of the failure of the projects and resulted to defective end products. This backs the report by Loosemore et al (2003) that, ineffective communication styles employed by managers and subcontractors cause conflicts and lack of trust and result to failure to attain the construction objectives thus resulting to defective end product.
The literature in this study will be obtained from the internet and the school library. Since there are thousands of articles on construction engineering, the literature obtained will focus on current books and articles published on communication and managerial styles exhibited by manager and subcontractors and their effect on the end product.
Chen, Y and Kamara, J. (2008). The Mechanisms of Information Communication on Construction Sites. FORUM Ejournal 8:1-32
Loosemore, M. Lingard, H. Dainty, A (2003) Human Resource Management in Construction
Peter Fewings (2013). Construction Project Management. 2nd ed. Park Square, Oxon: Routledge. Page 2-3.
Walker, A. (2011) Organizational Behaviour in Construction. Wiley-Blackwell:Chichester