Unethical Practices

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Unethical Practices in Nigerian Engineering Industries: Complications for Project Management O. E. Alutu1 and M. L. Udhawuve2
Abstract: The purpose of the paper is to establish the unethical practices in engineering industries and identify the various factors that could encourage unethical practices in the nation’s life with a view to highlighting the findings for corruption-free management of projects. A sample of 226 was randomly selected for the study from a population of 12,230 workers from selected companies in the manufacturing and construction industries in Lagos state. The data were analyzed using simple percentages and the chi-square statistics. The results revealed that organizations have a code of conduct that should generate in the workforce values such as accountability and integrity and that there are disciplinary and control measures to check malpractices, yet individuals still engage in unethical practices. Of all the 34 unethical practices studied, “people want to acquire wealth by all means to enhance public status” ranked highest, followed by “people are driven by their inherent greed for money.” The factor that contributed most to the unethical practices is economic pressures, followed by societal practices, vested interests of stakeholders in contracts, and last organization’s practice. The result also showed that there are vested interests in design, award, execution, and commissioning of projects by stakeholders of the projects and that unethical practices have serious negative impact on project management. DOI: 10.1061/ ASCE 0742-597X 2009 25:1 40 CE Database subject headings: Ethics; Construction management; Nigeria; Africa.

Corruption is a dangerous societal disease, more dangerous than cancer or HIV/AIDS is to human beings Akintude 2001 . The level of corruption has gone so high in Nigeria that corrupt practices have been blamed for the instability of successive governments in Nigeria since the first republic Obasanjo 2000 . Thus, between 1960 and 1966, the period immediately after independence, corrupt practices were gradually planted into the Nigerian society. Between 1966 and 1979, the generals of the first military incursion nurtured it to full-grown status. The civilians between 1979 and 1983 watered it and it started to blossom. Finally, the military generals between 1983 and 1999 institutionalized it and made it a way of life, to the extent that Nigeria earned the reputation of being the second most corrupt nation in the world. At present, Nigeria is steep with corruption and it has affected every facet of the nation’s life. One of the aftermaths of corruption is the raising of the cost of construction to an embarrassing level. The prevalence of poor precontract planning, inept/ incompetent contractors, incompetent consultants/professional advisers, fraud, poor project funding/delayed payments, late appointment of relevant professionals, nonapplication of due process in contract awards, hasty preparation/award/execution of Faculty of Engineering, Univ. of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Faculty of Engineering, Univ. of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Note. Discussion open until June 1, 2009. Separate discussions must be submitted for individual papers. The manuscript for this technical note was submitted for review and possible publication on April 5, 2005; approved on May 17, 2007. This technical note is part of the Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 1, 2009. ©ASCE, ISSN 0742-597X/2009/1-40–43/$25.00. 2 1

projects, adverse market forces/inconsistent government policies, design inadequacies, choice of contractual arrangement/form of contact, and inflation have been identified as the causal factors responsible for the very high cost of construction in Nigeria NIQS 2003 . For example, an office block, three-star hotels, and industrial buildings in Nigeria will cost 50%, 155%, and 130%, respectively, more than what they would cost in South...
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