Critical success factors for implementation of risk assessment and management practices within the Tanzanian construction industryEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management


Nicholas Chileshe, Geraldine John Kikwasi
Building and Construction / Architecture / Business, Management and Accounting (all) / Civil and Structural Engineering


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Lee H. Bowker, o̊Dean of the Graduate School and Research

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US Office of Technology Assessment

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Critical success factors for implementation of risk assessment and management practices within the Tanzanian construction industry

Nicholas Chileshe

School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia,

Adelaide, Australia, and

Geraldine John Kikwasi

Department of Construction Management,

School of Construction Economics and Management, Ardhi University,

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Purpose – Despite the extensive research on critical success factors (CSFs), there is a paucity of studies that examine CSFs for the deployment of risk assessment and management processes in developing countries, particularly, Africa. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perception of construction professionals on CSFs appertaining to the deployment of risk assessment and management practices (RAMP) in Tanzania with the aim of filling the knowledge gap.

Design/methodology/approach – The primary data were collected from 67 construction professionals working with clients (private and public), consultants, and contractor organisations (foreign and local) within the Tanzanian construction. Response data was subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics with one-way analysis of variance to examine the differences in the perception of the identified CSFs.

Findings – The descriptive and empirical analysis demonstrated a disparity of the ranking of the ten

CSFs among the groups; however, the differences were not significant. Based on the overall sample, the results of the mean score ranking indicate that “awareness of risk management processes”; “team work and communications”; and “management style” were the three highly ranked CSFs whereas “co-operative culture”; “customer requirement”; and “positive human dynamics” were considered to be the least important.

Research limitations/implications – The study did not differentiate the perceptions of the CSFs according to the ownership (local or foreign), and the sample consisted of organisations in one industry operating in Tanzania. Consequently, the findings may not generalise to other industries or to organisations operating in other countries.

Practical implications – For RAMP to be implemented effectively, Tanzanian constructional-related organisations should consider the identified CSFs as a vehicle for improving project success through reduction of risk uncertainty. Furthermore, regardless of the type of organisation, “management style”, “team work and communication” are necessary for the successful deployment of RAMP.

Originality/value – This study makes a contribution to the body of knowledge on the subject within a previously unexplored context. The study provides insights on the drivers and enablers (CSFs) of risk assessment implementation across the Tanzania construction sector.

Keywords Construction industry, Critical success factors, Risk management, Risk assessment,


Paper type Research paper

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

Engineering, Construction and

Architectural Management

Vol. 21 No. 3, 2014 pp. 291-319 r Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0969-9988

DOI 10.1108/ECAM-01-2013-0001 291

CSFs for implementation of RAMP 1. Introduction

While risk assessment and management practices (RAMP) have been studied in other countries, the majority of these studies have largely focused on the identification of critical success factors (CSFs) for construction projects (Ahadzie et al., 2008; Toor and Ogunlana, 2009; Famakin et al., 2012; Tabish and Jha, 2011; Yang et al., 2009;

Zwikael, 2009), and project success (White and Fortune, 2002; Salaheldin, 2009).

Furthermore, the majority of these studies have focused on developed countries with a paucity of studies within the developing countries. The majority of these are drawn from the Asian region (Santoso et al., 2003, p. 43). There is a growing need for specific

RAMP studies especially within sub-Saharan Africa (SAA), including Tanzania.

The rationale for the specific Tanzanian study is that, what might be considered by a firm to be a risk and therefore manageable in a Commonwealth country could clearly be different to a firm operating, say, for example, in the USA where the industry is structured differently/has different legal constraints.

As with other developing countries, construction is vital to the economic development.

For example, the importance of the construction in Tanzania is evidenced by its contribution of more than 5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) (Lema, 2008), and 9 per cent of employment creation and about 57 per cent of the capital formation (United Republic of Tanzania (URT), 2006). Despite the aspirations of Tanzania to have one of the best construction industries in the world (Ofori, 2012a), it is still inundated with poor project performance. The industry continues to deliver its products over budget, beyond original estimated construction period and at times with poor quality.

The study and implementation of risk management and assessment practices have been closely aligned with improved overall project performance (Zwikael, 2009;

Agyakwa-Baah and Chileshe, 2010; Nkado, 2010; Tabish and Jha, 2011; Zou et al., 2010).

In contrast, several studies have failed to find support for a direct relationship between adoption of risk management practices and enhanced project performance. For example,

Besner and Hobbs (2012, p. 242), notes that while the link between uncertainty and failure (or between certainty and success) seems to be well established, they point to the lack of clarity between the risk management and success linkages.

However, despite the different schools of thought on the direct correlation between risk management practices and enhanced project performance in literature, there have been a number of studies on project management undertaken in the context of

Tanzania (Simkoko, 1992; Lema, 2008; Msita, 1997; Ministry of Works (MoW), 2003;