A CRITICAL STUDY OF THE PRACTICE CHARACTERISTICS OF ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS IN NIGERIA

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A CRITICAL STUDY OF THE PRACTICE CHARACTERISTICS OF ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS IN NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT
Very little is known about the architectural firms in Nigeria. The study thus explored the characteristics of architectural firms in Nigeria empirically using the systems approach to the study of organizations. The study investigated the organizational profiles, cultures, strategies and structures of the architectural firms. The tasks and information technology characteristics of the architectural firms as well as the external influences on the firms were also investigated, culminating in the investigation of the types of architectural firms that existed in Nigeria.This study thus took an approach which was exploratory and descriptive.
Therefore, the research was mainly inductive. The architectural practice was studied as a professional organization and the architectural firms were studied holistically, taking the systems approach. The sample size was derived from the list of architectural firms registered by Architects Registration Council of Nigeria
(ARCON, 2006). The purposive and random sampling methods were employed. The survey and qualitative methods were used, with the firm as the unit of analysis. The survey instrument was the structured questionnaire, while the qualitative instrument was the interview schedule. The ninety-two (92) questionnaires collected were analyzed using frequencies, cross tabulations, the chi-square test, principal component analysis, the coefficient of correlation (Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient), Multiple Analysis of
Variance, (MANOVA), discriminant analysis, regression analysis and cluster analysis. The data from the interview were analyzed using content analysis.
The five types of firms identified by the study included male-dominated firms, amorphous firms, conventional firms, stable/ traditional firms and versatile firms. The most important causes of differences between the types of architectural firms in Nigeria were level of specialization of activities, and varieties of services offered, which accounted for more than half of the differences between the firms.
Most of the architectural firms sampled in Nigeria were found to be more than ten (10) years old, small sized, and owned by a sole principal. They had the culture of innovation, but not the culture of aggression in the pursuit of business opportunities or concern for profit. The study found that most of the clients of
the architectural firms were private individuals in Nigeria and most of their projects were residential projects. Most of the clients of the architectural firms were sourced through personal contact and the projects most of the firms
carried out were those that they were able to obtain commissions for. Most of the firms were engaged in projects which used the design and build method and these firms were found to have more residential projects. Also participation in design and build method appeared to be a survival strategy as the firms that had existed for more than 15 years did not participate in projects which used this method. The firms mostly used competence in design, followed by AUTOCAD and information technology literacy as criteria for the selection of staff. Findings of the study indicated that information technology facilities were highly available in most of the firms, and the Internet was mostly used for sourcing information. The results also suggest that the Internet was used as a tool for centralization.
The study further found that the external influences on most of the architectural firms were not so strong and the greatest influences were those exerted by clients, advances in information technology and the national economy. The characteristics of the firms most affected by these external influences were the staff management culture of the firms, the strategic goals of the firms and the qualification and experience of the principal.
The study concluded that architectural firms need to take advantage of the opportunities provided by information technology to operate on a global level. There is a need for architectural schools in Nigeria to fully integrate internship into the study of architecture as well as train students extensively in construction
methods to meet the demands of architectural firms. The study further concluded that there is a need for the business training of architects as this was a factor responsible for the success of architectural firms. The systems approach to the study of architectural firms had been useful and practical. More studies are required, using the systems approach, on peculiarities of architectural firms and their management strategies.

TABLE OF CONTENT—————i
Declaration —————————ii
2.7 The Study of Professional Organizations ————-32
2.8 The Architectural Profession and its Characteristics ———–33
2.9 The Architectural Firm —————34
2.9.1 Architectural Practice as Professional service ——-35
2.9.2 Architectural Practice as Creative Endeavour ——-36
2.9.3 Architecture as Business————-36
2.10 Challenges to Architectural Practice ————–49
2.11 The Characteristics of Architectural Firms ————41
2.11.1 Strategies of Architectural Firms———-42
2.11.1 1 Business Strategies ———43
2.11.1.2 Competitive Strategy ———44
2.11.1.3 Staffing Strategies ————46
2.11.2 Structure of Architectural firms ———–47
2.11.3 Organizational Profile of Architectural Firms ———49
2.11.4 Technological characteristics ———–50
2.12 Studies of Architectural firms————-52
2.13 Methodological Approaches to the Study of Architectural Firms. ——53
2.14 Summary——————-54

CHAPTER THREE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
3.0 Introduction ——————–57
3.1 The System Approach to the Study of Organizations——-57
3.2 Empirical Approach to classification ———–60
3.3 Summary ——————–61

CHAPTER FOUR METHODOLOGY
4.0 Introduction———————62
4.1 Methodological Approach —————–62
4.2 The Study Population —————-62
4.3 Sampling Method ——————-63
4.4 Size of Sample ——————63
4.5 Subjects ——————–66
4.6.1 Data Collection Instruments ————–66
4.6.2 Questionnaire/ Interview Design —————66
5.8.3 Number of Firms that Principal Previously Worked in ——98
5.8.4 Highest Qualification of Principal ————-99
5.8.5 Additional Qualifications of Principals– ——–100
5.8.6 Years of Experience of Principal ————101
5.8.7 Number of Years of experience of Principal before Starting firms——-103
5.8.8 Institutions Attended by Principals ———–103
5.9 Factors of Organizational Profile of Architectural Firms —-105
5.10 Types of Architecture Firms Based on the Profiles of the Firms —–107
5.10.1 Profile Attributes of Firms in cluster 1 ——–108
5.10.2 Profile Attributes of Firms in cluster 2 ——–109
5.10.3 Profile Attributes of Firms in cluster 3 ——–109
5.10.4 Profile Attributes of Firms in cluster 4 ——–110
5.10.5 Profile Attributes of Firms in cluster 5 ——–111
5.11 Summary——————111

CHAPTER SIX CULTURAL PROFILE OF ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS
6.0 Introduction ——————–114
6.1 Organizational Culture of Architectural Firms ———114
6.2 Major Cultural values of Architectural firms ————118
6.3 Cultural Values of Architectural Firms and Other Characteristics of the firm—-119
6.3.1 Organizational Cultural Values of Architectural Firms and Innovation–119
6.3.2 Cultural Values of Architectural Firms and Ownership Form —-120
6.3.3 Cultural Values of Architectural Firms and Means of Remuneration—–
121
6.3.4 Cultural Values of Architectural Firms and the Age of the Principal—–121
6.4 Leadership Styles of the Principal ————–122
6.5 Spatial Arrangement of Most Parts of Architectural Offices —–124
6.6 Personalization of the Reception Area ———–125
6.7 Factors of organizational Culture of Architectural Firms ——–126
6.8 Types of Architectural Firms Based on the Cultures of the Firms ——128
6.8.1 Cultural Attributes of Firms in the First Cluster——-129
6.8.2 Cultural Attributes of Firms in the Second Cluster——–130
6.8.3 Cultural Attributes of Firms in the Third Cluster ——–131
6.8.4 Cultural Attributes of Firms in the Fourth Cluster ——–132
6.9 Summary——————-133

CHAPTER SEVEN ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES OF ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS
7.0 Introduction ——————–135
7.1 Business Strategies of Architectural Firms ————135
7.1.1 Client Group Targeted ————-135
7.1.2 Projects in the Firm’s Portfolio ———–137
7.1.3 Reasons for the Proportions of Different Project Types—–138
7.1.4 Means of Building Clients —————139
7.2 Competitive Strategies of Architectural Firms ———-142
7.2.1 Network of Branches of Architectural Firms ——–143
7.2.2 Network of Branches in West Africa and other Parts of the World——-144
7.2.3 Collaboration with other Firms ————145
7.2.4 Long-term Contracts and Sub-Commissions ——–150
7.2.5 Architectural Firms and Building Procurement Methods ——-152
7.2.6 Ranking of Strategic Principles of Architectural Firms ——155
7.2.7 Major Strategic Principles of Architectural Firms ———157
7.3 Staffing strategies of Firms —————–158
7.3.1 Criteria for Selection of Staffs (Architects)———–158
7.3.2 Means of Retaining Competent staffs———-160
7.3.3 Staffing Mode of Architectural Firms———-163
7.4 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Strategies of the Firms——-164
7.4.1 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Business strategies —-164
7.4.2 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Competitive Strategies——-168
7.4.3 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Staffing Strategies —-172
7.5 Summary——————–175

CHAPTER EIGHT THE OFFICES STRUCTURE AND TASK AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CHARACTERISTICS OF ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS
8.0 Introduction ———————178
8.1 Specialization of Duties —————-178
8.2 Formalization of Activities —————–181
8.3 Centralization of Decision Making —————182
8.4 Delegation of Authority —————-18

8.5 Forms of Organizational Structures of the Architectural Firms——186
8.6 Task and information technology characteristics of Architectural Firms —–189
8.6.1 Services Offered by the Architectural Firms ——–189
8.6.2 Organization of Staff for Execution of Projects——–190
8.6.3 Subletting of Services————–191
8.7 Information Technology Characteristics of the Firms ———–194
8.7.1 Availability of Information Technology Facilities in Firms ——-194
8.7.2 Application of Internet Facilities in Architectural Firms ——-195
8.7.3 Websites and Electronic Mail (E-Mail) Addresses ———198
8.7.4 Information Technology, Size Ownership Forms and Structures of
Architectural Firms —————–197
8.8 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Office Structures; and Task and
Information Technology Characteristics of the Firms ——–199
8.8.1 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Office Structures —-199
8.8.2 Types of Architectural Firms based on the Task and Information
Technology Characteristics of Architectural Firms———203
8.9 Summary——————–205

CHAPTER NINE TYPOLOGIES OF FIRMS AND EXTERNAL INFLUENCES ON FIRMS
9.0 Introduction———————208
9.1 Strength of External Influences on firms ————-208
9.2 The External Environment and other Characteristics of Architectural Firms—–210
9.3 Characteristics of architectural firms and success of the firm ——212
9.4 Characteristics of architectural firms and success of the firms when the firms
are severely influenced by the external environment——–216
9.5 Description of the External Factors of the Architectural Firms—222
9.6 Types of Architectural Firms —————–223
9.7 Determinants of Organizational Differences between Architectural Firms —–227
9.8 Summary——————–228

CHAPTER TEN SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
10.0 Introduction ———————230
10.1 Summary of Results and Conclusion—————-230
10.2 Implications of the Findings —————–233
10.3 Opportunities for Further Research—————234
10.4 Concluding Remarks ——————-235
REFERENCES ———————-236

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1 Location of Registered Architectural Firms in Nigeria ——-10
Table 4.1 Calculated Sample Sizes—————65
Table 4.2 Distribution of Questionnaires to Architectural Firms According to City
Locations——————-71
Table 5.1 Ages of Firms as Contained in the Register of Architectural Firms Entitled to
Practice in Nigeria ——————74
Table 5.2 Ownership Form of Firms from the Register of Architectural Firms Entitled to
Practice in Nigeria ——————79
Table 5.3 Number of Professionals in Firms ————–81
Table 5.4 Number of Support Staffs in Firms ————–82
Table 5.5 Qualification of Architects —————-84
Table 5.6 Designation of Architects —————-85
Table 5.7 Sex of Staffs —————–86
Table 5.8 Clients of Architectural Firms ————-88
Table 5.9 Means of Remuneration —————93
Table 5.10 Additional Qualifications of principals of architecture Firms —-101
Table 5.11 Institution Attended by Principal ————-104
Table 5.12 Profile Factor Descriptions —————106
Table 6.1 Ranking of Cultural Values—————115
Table 6.2 Factors of Cultural Values of Architectural Firms ———118
Table 6.3 Correlations between Innovation and other Cultural Attributes—-120
Table 6.4 Cultural Factor Descriptions —————128
Table 7.1 Reasons for Collaboration ————149
Table 7.2 Ranking of Strategic Principles of Architectural Firms —-156
Table 7.3 Factors of Strategic Principles of Architectural Firms ——158
Table 7.4 Ranking of Criteria for Selection of Staffs (Architects)——159
Table 8.1 Formalization of Activities ————182
Table 8.2 Centralization of Decisions ————183
Table 8.3 Ranking of the Frequencies of Services offered by Architectural Firms —-190
Table 8.4 Ranking of Availability of Information Technology Facilities —-194
Table 8.5 Ranking of the Application of Internet Facilities ———195
Table 9.1 Ranking of Strength of external Influences on Architectural Firms —–209
Table 9.2: Discriminant Analysis- Success of firms———–
–213
Table 9.3 Canonical Discriminant Function Coefficients- Success of Firms —–214
Table 9.4 Functions at Group Centroids- Success of Firms ———214
Table 9.5 Classification Results- Success of Firms ———–215
Table 9.6: Discriminant Analysis- Success under severe external influences —–217
Table 9.7 Canonical Discriminant Function Coefficients- Success under severe external
influences ——————-217
Table 9.8 Functions at Group Centroids- Success under severe external influences —218
Table 9.9 Classification Results Success under severe external influences ——–218
Table 9.10 Discriminant Analysis- Success under weak external influences —–220
Table 9.11 Canonical Discriminant Function Coefficients- Success under weak external influences——–221
Table 9.12 Functions at Group Centroids- Success under weak external influences —221
Table 9.13 Classification Results- Success under weak external influences —–221
Table 9.14 Categorical Principal Component Analysis ” Model Summary—-223
Table 9.15 Description of Dimensions of the external environment ——-223
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2.1 The Organizational System——————17
Figure 2.2 Sources of Business for Professionals ‘————–38
Figure 3.1 Outline of the Researcher’s Process of Thought ————60
Figure 5.1 Ages of firms ——————-74
Figure 5.2 Ownership Forms of Firms ——————75
Figure 5.3 Registration of Firm with ARCON—————-78
Figure 5.4 Total Numbers of Staff in Architectural Firms ———–79
Figure 5.5 Percentage of Staff of Architecture Firms who were Women ——-86
Figure 5.6 Average Size of Project done in the last two years ———91
Figure 5.7 Cost of Projects Targeted in the Next One Year ————92
Figure 5.8 Perception of the Firm Success —————-94
Figure 5.9 Gender of Principal ——————–96
Figure 5.10 Age Group of Principal —————–97
Figure 5.11 Number of Firms that Principal Previously worked in ———98
Figure 5.12 Highest Qualification of Principal ———99
Figure 5.13 Possession of Other Qualifications by Principal———–101
Figure 5.14 Number of Years of experience of Principal ———-102
Figure 5.15 Number of Years that the Principal had been registered with Architects
registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) ————-102
Figure 5.16 Number of Years of Experience of Principal Before Starting Firms ——-103
Figure 5.17 Cluster Distributions of Types of Architectural Firms Based on the Profiles
of the Firms ——————108
Figure 5.18 Variables Important in the Formation of Cluster 1 of Firms Based on Profiles–108
Figure 5.19 Variables Important in the Formation of Cluster 2 of Firms Based on Profiles–109
Figure 5.20 Variables Important in the Formation of Cluster 3 of Firms Based on Profiles–110
Figure 5.21 Variables Important in the Formation of Cluster 4 of Firms Based on Profiles–110
Figure 5.22 Variables Important in the Formation of Cluster 5 of Firms Based on Profiles–111
Figure 6.1 Description of the Principals ————–123
Figure 6.2 Spatial Arrangements of Architectural Offices– ———124
Figure 6.3 Number of Items in the Reception Area– ———125
Figure 6.4 Are there Drawings in the Reception Area? ——–125
Figure 6.5 Are there Models in the Reception Area? ——–125
Figure 6.6 Are there artworks or Paintings in the Reception Area?– ——-126
Figure 6.7 Are there Plants in the Reception Area?– ———126
Figure 6.8 Are there Awards, Plaques or Souvenirs in the Reception Area? ——-126
Figure 6.9 Are there Reading Materials in the Reception Area? ————
126
Figure 6.10 Cluster distribution of Firms Based on Cultures– ———129
Figure 6.11 Attributes of Firms in the First Cluster Based on Culture ———130
Figure 6.12 Attributes of Firms in the Second Cluster Based on Culture ———131
Figure 6.13 Attributes of Firms in the Third Cluster Based on Culture ———131
Figure 6.14 Attributes of Firms in the Fourth Cluster Based on Culture ———132
Figure 7.1 Client Groups Targeted —————-136
Figure 7.2 Client Groups Targeted- Multiple Response Results ——–136
Figure 7.3 Proportions of Different Project Types in Firms’ Portfolios ———138
Figure 7.4 Reasons for the Proportions of Project Types ————–139
Figure 7.5 Proportions of Clients from Various Sources ———-140
Figure 7.6 Network of Branches of Architectural firms ———-143
Figure 7.7 Number of Branches of Architectural Firms in Nigeria——–143
Figure 7.8 Network of Branches in West Africa and Other Parts of the World —-145
Figure 7.9 Does the Firm Collaborate Locally with other Firms? ——-146
Figure 7.10 Does the Firm Collaborate with other Firms outside Nigeria? —–146
Figure 7.11 Firms Collaborated with Locally ————–147
Figure 7.12 Firms Collaborated with Internationally ————147
Figure 7.13 Type of Collaboration Firms Were Involved in———148
Figure 7.14 Reasons for Collaboration- Multiple response Results ——-150
Figure 7.15 Proportion of Firms with Long-term Contracts ———151

 

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A CRITICAL STUDY OF THE PRACTICE CHARACTERISTICS OF ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS IN NIGERIA

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