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THE IMPORTANCE OF

SOFT SKILLS TO A

CONSTRUCTION

PROJECT’S SUCCESS

BY Josiah Johnson

[DATE]
CITY UNIVERSITY LONDON
[Company address]
Contents

Abstract ................................................................................................................................................... 2

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 4

Justification of the Research ............................................................................................................... 4

Objectives of the research ................................................................................................................... 4

Literature Review.................................................................................................................................... 7

Methodology ........................................................................................................................................... 7

Results ..................................................................................................................................................... 7

Analysis .................................................................................................................................................. 7

Discussion ............................................................................................................................................... 7

Conclusion .............................................................................................................................................. 7
Dedication

Acknowledgement

Abstract

The construction industry is one the UK’s premier source of income as it contributes around ninety

billion pounds each year. It provides almost three million jobs in two hundred and eighty thousand

businesses. However, the industry has experienced several turbulent last few years, having gone in out

of recessions. The future appears to be just as difficult due to the industry being tasked with dealing

with the uncertainty of Brexit. Naturally, this creates a climate where construction managers are under

increased pressure to deliver successful projects. This relies not only on the knowledge of the

managers but just as importantly their skillset. At the moment, there is very little information

available on the key soft skills in the UK construction industry, particularly in terms of its impact on

the success of a construction project. The questions this dissertation aims to answer are “what are

these key skills that enable a construction manager to achieve successful outcomes?” and “how can

these be attained in the workplace?” .The research conducted in this dissertation was through a survey

asking representations of UK construction organisations which skills they believed contributed to

project success and the reasons for their choice. The results were then evaluated and discussed.
Key Definitions

Project: A specific task or a group of tasks undertaken within certain timeframe and cost to produce a

unique service, product, or result.

Project management: the processes of executing and applying methods skills, knowledge, and

experience to achieve the project objectives.

Project manager: The person responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, execution

monitoring, and controlling the successful conclusion of a project.

Project team: The people, including those from the functional departments,

subcontractors, and vendors, who make up the set of skills and services required

to complete a project.

Project success: To achieve all project objectives effectively and efficiently

in scope, within budget and on time

Skills: The personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other

people.
Introduction

Justification of the Research

The construction industry is a project-oriented industry comprising of activities which can range from

simple to extremely complex. For example, typical construction jobs could range from building a

basic garden fence to designing and constructing the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. As

projects increase in complexity the execution process of producing a final project requires more than

just a technical knowledge of the subject. As civilisation progresses, develops and evolves so does the

need for increasingly more complex, unique and complicated projects like that of the Burj Khalifa.

This places a burden on engineers, architects, project managers and key leaders tasked with the

responsibility of completing the project successfully. Therefore, the success of the project relies

squarely on the performance of the leaders of the project especially the project manager. The

construction project manager’s main responsibilities include ensuring a construction project is

delivered as required on time, on budget and safely. This relies on his or her understanding of the

overview of the project as well as the ability to monitor, control, and plan the project. Although these

are skills identified on several master’s management courses, there is insufficient information on the

concept of the role coordinating the project. More specifically in an industry that involves interacting

between multiple players ranging from contractors, sub-contractors, clients and consultants across

several sectors such as civil, mechanical, electrical, plant and machinery, there appears to be

insufficient information on the role soft skill contributes to achieving a successful project within the

construction industry. Hence more work is required on the skills required to achieve successful project

outcomes. This project aims to provide fresh insight into creating more well-rounded project

managers who are more aware of ways to bridge the skill gap caused by lack of attention in master’s

programs. Hence it provides an insight into become more effective project managers.

Objectives of the research

The main aim of this dissertation is to identify the key soft skills required for success in the

construction industry, as well as the role each skill plays in achieving success. Some of the questions
this report aims to answer include what are the current practices in the industry for individuals to

develop the various soft skills necessary and how can these practices can be improved.

The main objectives for this paper are to:

- To provide a review on the current practices for leading and

managing projects along with the existing theories on effective project management

- Identify the key soft skills required in the construction industry

- Investigate key concepts such as soft and hard skill

- Investigate the links between such skills and project productivity in the different stages of a

typical construction project.

- Explore the training and development practices used in the UK and provide suggestions for

improvements

- Provide suggestions for individual professional soft skill development

Scope of research

Although aspects of this research may be relevant to project managers within other industries the

primary focus of the research is for budding and new construction project managers such as graduates

and managers with a few years’ experience. The research contained in this paper can be divided into

two parts. The first part is literature review highlighting all the key soft skill necessary within the

construction industry today. This review consists of an evaluation of established practices in the sector

found in a range sources from textbooks on the subject matter as well as data from the institute of

engineers covering the subject. The primary focus is not only to identify the most important skill but

also the investigate the link between the skills and effectiveness. The information identified in the

literature review will then be compared with the findings of the second part of the research. The

second part of the research in contained in this report is an empirical study of the importance of soft

skills in the industry. The investigation with comprise of a set of questions sent to established project

managers within the industry. The interviewees will be asked a set of question aiming for them to
provide their opinions on the key soft skills necessary to succeed within the industry. The results will

then be collated and then compared with result identified in the literature review.

Structure of the thesis

This dissertation is divided into five main chapters.

Chapter 1: This chapter give the background, motivation and scope of research of the dissertation

Chapter 2: The aim of the Literature review is to provide a critical overview of

the theoretical background of soft skills. This chapter includes a discussion of the current practice in

relation to project management studies both within the within the construction context and outside the

construction context. It also highlights gaps and area for improvement within the construction

industry.

Chapter 3: The purpose of the research methodology is to discuss the research approach and more

specifically the research design and philosophy chosen for this study. The research In addition it

contains the process for evaluating the qualitative study also discussed in this chapter.

Chapter 4: Findings and Data analysis details the outcome of the results by explaining research

findings as well providing a comparison between the results in the investigations and a comparison

with finding of the literature review.

Chapter 5: The conclusion will provide a review of the research project as well as recommendations

for future investigations.


Literature Review
The role of a Project Management

Effective project management


Trait of successful and unsuccessful project management
Previous studies on the topic of Key project management skills
Soft Skills vs Hard Skills
Why soft skills in construction management requires attention
Soft skill traits

Methodology

Results

Analysis

Discussion

Conclusion

References

List of some of the References to be used

Jaser k. Mahasneh and walid thabet, (2015) rethinking construction curriculum: a descriptive cause
analysis for soft skills gap among construction graduates
Suzanne j. Wilkinson, rosemary lee scofield (2001) a skills profile for a successful project facilitator
Maame aba wusuah affare(2012) an assessment of project communication management on
construction projects in ghana

k n jha (2005)attributes of a project coordinator


Anne marando (2012) balancing project management hard skills and soft skills
Alberto pérez gómez-ferrer (2017) communication problems between actors in construction projects

Zakari tsiga48, michael emes, alan smith critical success factors for the construction industry
Adelia carstens (2005)cultvatng the sof skills of future constructon managers through restorying
constructon workers’ career narratves
Bmg research (2012) factors in project success
Sambo zulu (2007) impact of project management on project performance: a structural equation
modelling approach
Mr. Manazar hussain awan, mr. Kashif ahmed (2015) impact of project manager’s soft leadership
skills on project success
Dr. Suat gunhan, gulsen senol, dr. Sevgi zeynep dogan (2012) non-verbal cues: improving
communication in construction projects
Shamil naoum and daniel fong critical success factors of project management