1.1 Background of the Study
The Nigeria Construction Industry (NCI) has been described as a “sleeping giant‟ in terms of service delivery and capacity to satisfy the needs of its clients (Kolo and Ibrahim, 2010). There is a consensus among academic researchers and professionals that the Nigeria Construction Industry (NCI) is slow to innovation (Odediran et al., 2012) and lacks the capacity to deliver. Kolo and Ibrahim (2010) buttressed the “sleeping giant‟ status of the NCI when juxtaposed with other developing countries with similar developmental challenges at about the 1970s, Malaysia, Japan, Korea (Cheah and Ting, 2005), Kenya, Ghana, South Africa (Bowen et al., 2007), and Saudi Arabia (Al-Yami and Price, 2006; Alalshikh and Male, 2009) have long realised the need to improve their service delivery capacity. Despite the industry state in Nigeria, researches have continued to suggest ways of improving service delivery in the industry; one of such ways is the massive campaigning from research and industry for the NCI to adopt concepts of Knowledge Management (KM) to improve the situation (Anago, 2006: Sodiya et al., 2006: NIQS, 2012).
The construction industry is being increasingly challenged to successfully innovate in order to satisfy the aspirations and needs of society and clients and to improve its competiveness (Latham, 1994). The Egan Report (1998) identified five key drivers of change in the construction industry; (i) committed leadership, (ii) a focus on the customer, (iii) integrated process and terms, (iv) a quality driven agenda; and (v) commitment to people. The Egan report aptly captured that leadership was one of the five key drivers of change in the construction industry.
Stogdill (1974) defined leadership as a process whereby an individual supports other group members in learning processes needed to attain group or organisational goals. They however defined leaders as individuals who have a clear idea of what they want to do personally, professionally and the strength to persist in the face of setbacks and failures.
According to Robbins and Judge (2009) a major shift in leadership research came when researchers recognised the need to develop contingency theories that included situational factors. Research has shown that the traditional theories of leadership tend to believe that certain types of leadership behaviours work better in some cultures than in others. It had been suggested that the development of leadership research can be divided into the following stages (Toor, 2009): (i) classical approaches, which include motivation and trait theories, during the first half of the 20th century, (ii) transactional approaches, which include behavioural and contingency theories, during the 1950s and 1960s, (iii) transformational and charismatic leadership theories during the 1970s and 1980s and (iv) developments within the most recent decades. However, new concepts do not replace the earlier approaches but are concurrent with them in practice.
Robbins and Judge (2009) cited House et al (2002) the Global Leadership and Organisational Behaviour Effectiveness (GLOBE) research program, which gathered data on approximately 18,000 middle managers in 825 organisations, covering 62 countries. It is the most comprehensive cross-cultural study of leadership ever undertaken. One of the results coming from the GLOBE program is that there are some universal aspects to leadership. Specifically, a number of the elements making up transformational leadership appear to be associated with effective leadership. Literature has amply shown that transformational leadership is a form of leadership behaviour that is receptive to change management initiative which includes KM. While transactional leadership emphasises primarily on control through rule compliance and maintaining stability within organisation rather than promoting change. Laissez – faire leadership behaviour is the most passive and therefore the least effective of the leadership behaviours.
Crawford (2005) cited in a series of articles, Crawford (1998), Crawford and Strohkirch (1997a, 1997b, 2000), and Crawford, Gould, and Scott (2003) established the argument that transformational leadership was related to personal innovation. In their findings, transformational leaders were significantly more innovative than transactional and laissez-faire leaders.
Innovation is a change management initiative which includes knowledge management (KM). KM is defined as “a process by which knowledge is identified, captured, codified, stored, disseminated (shared/transferred), implemented (adapted, transformed, synthesised) and its impact measured for the benefit of an organisation” (Suresh, 2008). The behavioural manifestation of innovation is the ability to create and manage information and knowledge. Given the substantial relationship between innovation and transformational leadership, research looking at the relationship of the outcome of innovation (knowledge management) and transformational leadership seems more than deserving of investigation (Bryant, 2003; Crawford & Strohkirch, 2002).
Kasimu et al., (2012) developed a KM framework for civil engineering (CE) construction firms in Nigeria which they conclude that the implementation depends on the commitment, attitudinal behaviours, dedication and personal interest of the top management and employees. Their findings suggest that leadership was a key factor for any KM initiative to succeed in the NCI. In the views of Odusami et al., (2003) particularly in the NCI, not much work has been done on leadership. Assessing leadership for KM in the NCI will reveal if Nigerian consulting firms possess the leadership behaviours that will enhance the adoption KM practice in the NCI.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The adoption of KM concepts has been suggested by researchers (Anago, 2006: Sodiya et al., 2006: NIQS, 2012) as one of the ways by which service delivery in the NCI can be improved. However, Kasimu et al. (2012) developed a framework for civil engineering (CE) construction firms in Nigeria in which they found that leadership was a key factor for any KM initiative to succeed in the NCI. The NIQS (2012) conclude that to deal effectively with the challenges of project complexities canvassed the need for effective leadership and knowledge of professionals. Bryant (2003) argued that there is a clear relationship between transformational leadership and knowledge management in organizations. The foregoing predispositions by Bryant (2003), Kamisu et al., (2012) and the NIQS (2012) serves as ample motivation for further investigation whether the consulting firms in the NCI possess the leadership behaviours that will facilitate the adoption of KM practice.
1.3 Significance of the Study
The need for the study was to empirically reveal if the Nigerian consulting firms possess the leadership behaviours that will enhance the adoption of KM practice in the NCI. The NCI will thus be able to improve its service delivery, since the state of the industry toward full adoption of KM will now be known. A considerable proportion of the rework, delays, mistakes and cost overruns on construction projects which according to Anumba et al.(2007) can be attributed to poor KM, will therefore be reduced to a minimum. More importantly, construction consulting firms in the NCI need to have a highly developed KM system that should enable the capture, development, maintenance and renewing of the organisation‟s intangible assets (Anago, 2006). Sodiya et al. (2006) stressed that KM should be considered as a significant issue towards proper utilisation of employees‟ knowledge and skills across many sectors of the Nigeria economy.
1.4 Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study is an investigation into the adoption of knowledge management (km) in the Nigerian industry construction industry with a view of improving service delivery.
i. To identify the attributes of leadership behaviours and Knowledge Management.
ii. To establish the leadership behaviours exhibited by the consulting firms in the NCI.
iii. To establish whether the consulting firms in the NCI exhibits Knowledge
iv. To examine the relationship between leadership behaviours and Knowledge Management.
H0: There is no relationship between transformational leadership and knowledge management in organizations (consulting firms).
H1: There is relationship between transformational leadership and knowledge management in organizations (consulting firms).
H0: There is no relationship between transactional leadership and knowledge management in organizations (consulting firms).
H1: There is relationship between transactional leadership and knowledge management in organizations (consulting firms).
H0: There is no relationship between laissez-faire leadership and knowledge management in organizations (consulting firms).
H1: There is relationship between laissez-faire leadership and knowledge management in organizations (consulting firms).
1.6 Scope and Limitations
The study focused on consulting firms in the NCI namely; Architectural, Quantity Surveying, Structural Engineering, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering practice firms. The data for the study were obtained from these construction consulting firms based in Kaduna and Abuja; Nigeria. The choice of construction consulting firms was because previous research works have identified them as knowledge – intensive service sectors. The study used Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) form 5X created by Bass and Avolio (2004) and considered only Transformational, Transactional and Laissez – Faire leadership behaviours. The study also used sample questions created by Gamble and Blackwell (2001) for Knowledge Management Inventory a typology of personal KM categories.
The following are the limitations from the study:
1) The structured questionnaire used in this study, is not the most flexible method of obtaining responses from the respondents. This is because when handled improperly could be vulnerable to statistical error.
2) The misuse of sampling and weighting can completely undermine the accuracy, validity and project ability of a quantitative research study.
3) The knowledge produced from this study might be too general for direct application to specific local situations, contexts and individual consulting firms.
4) The systematic sampling used in this study has the possibility of losing vital information from the population.