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Why is organisational behaviour important in construction?

The construction industry is complex. This complexity can be defined in terms of the projects undertaken and the people who are involved in these projects. Organisational behaviour management can offer supervisors a way to manage cross-organisational teams working on complex construction projects.

Construction projects in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry can range from small dwelling structures to multistory buildings to large and small-scale infrastructure projects.

This complexity can also be seen in the differentiation of the projects carried out, which can range from simple narrow roads to compound terminal airports. These distinguished categories are also observed in the specialists and professionals involved in these projects.

As a result, organisations often work with a range of professionals from different specialism that display various types of behaviour. In this context, the need for knowing and understanding Organisational Behaviour (OB) is increasingly important as projects get bigger and more complex.

One of the important aspects of OB is to support processes to develop effective organisational structure. Structure refers to the hierarchical arrangement of an organisations’ activities and workers’ responsibilities towards meeting its vision, objectives and goals.

The construction industry’s organisational structures are more complex, considering that besides the professional related work structures there are also different hierarchies for different teams working on specific projects. This can cause problems when managers seek to employ employees that meet the specific needs of the company in respective permanent sections as well as those that are relevant to new project structures. Organisational behaviour management enables managers to address these issues.

Another well-known problem in the construction industry is cost and time overruns that are sometimes caused by poor leadership. Oleg Vishnepolsky, chief technology officer of The Daily Mail and Metro.co.uk, says:

More than 50% of new managers fail within 18 months, according to a study published in Inc.com. One-third of executives in Fortune 500 companies do not make it past 3 years. The main reason - they drive away key personnel. 2 out of every 3 people who quit cite lack of appreciation - according to Forbes.com.

(Vishnepolsky 2018)

Organisational behaviour management enables leaders to lead their subordinates effectively.

From the employees’ point of view, OB initiates motivation of groups, especially in construction projects that demand teamwork. Furthermore, OB facilitates means for defining authority, power and status of employees. Workers exercise their power or become submissive to the authorities, hence contributing to the good organisational culture. Likewise, as in its definition, OB supports the formation of groups to achieve goals and objectives. Therefore, understanding humans in organisations and the way they behave plays a role in managing conflicts among individuals within and between groups.

Organisational behaviour is also important for influencing change in organisations. In recent years, where technological and customer care is the norm for running construction businesses, most companies including contractors are undergoing changes to accommodate these aspects. Finally, OB helps to develop the organisation – both economically and in size – in line with its vision, goals and objectives.

It is essential for construction industry managers and supervisors to understand organisational behaviour to effectively work with and manage professionals from different specialisms across a diverse range of projects.

Your task

Spend about 15 minutes on further research and list three examples that demonstrate the importance of organisational behaviour for the construction industry.

Share your examples in the comments and discuss some of the examples posted by other learners.


References

Vishnepolsky O. (2018) If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree [online]. available from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-dont-like-where-move-tree-oleg-vishnepolsky/ [2 August 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

Organisational Behaviour in Construction: An Introduction

Coventry University