CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY:PROJECT MANAGERS’ VIEW
Background of the study
Today‘s construction projects become more complex in nature. The complex,relational and lengthy process of designing and building makes construction a process in which disputes are virtually ensured. Furthermore, the involvement of multidisciplinary in the construction project also leads toconflicts among the parties. It seems that conflict and disputes are inevitable to the construction industry especially when most of construction projects are facing with so many uncertainties.
A study by Kumara swamy&Yogeswaran provided a good reference of the common sources of construction disputes that are largely related to contractual matters, including variation, extension of time, payment, quality of technical specification, availability of information, administration and management, unrealistic client expectations and determination. In other research by (Kathleen, 2003a) highlighted conflicts may develop as a result of limited resources such as not enough time, money, labour, materials and/or equipment. Smithdescribes conflict and disputes as an endemic problem in the construction industry. Conflict may difficulties communications between individuals, breaks personal and professional relationships and reduces effectiveness.
Conflict produces tension and distracts team members from performing the task. According to Cheung &Suen, if dispute are not properly managed, they may cause project delays, undetermined team spirit, increase project costs and above all, damage continuing business relationships. Thus it is not surprising that many construction stakeholders still overwhelmingly view conflict as negative and something to be avoided or resolved as soon as possible. However, there are many authors have pointed out conflict is a phenomenon that may give rise not only to functional but also dysfunctional effects on individuals, groups and organizations. As today‘s claims and disputes keep increasing, the construction industry struggles to find ways to equitably and economically to resolve them. According to Shin, managing disputes should become a part of normal project management during project operation because disputes in construction projects are common place and the resolution need to occur immediately on the project site.