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A systems approach to assessing organisational viability in project based organisations

Awuzie, BO; McDermott, P


BO Awuzie


Purpose: Extant literature highlights the increasing inability of project-based organisations (PBOs) to meet infrastructure client’s expectations, particularly as it concerns the delivery of socio-economic outcomes during the delivery process. Unclear communication channels and poor processing of information especially as it pertains to client’s strategic objectives results in a misalignment of objectives among participating parties. As its central proposition, the purpose of this paper is to hold that unclear communication channels between parties within infrastructure project PBOs affects their degree of internal cohesion hence posing strong challenges to their overall viability.
Design/methodology/approach: Applying the Viable Infrastructure Delivery Systems Model (VIDM); a model premised on the tenets of the Viable Systems Model, this qualitative study proceeds to assess a particular PBO within a developing country to understand its communication and control channels and to identify where gaps likely to affect the internal cohesiveness of the PBO, if any, existed. Whereas semi-structured interviews and project/policy documents were used as data collection tools, data were analysed using pre-set themes.
Findings: According the study’s findings, an absence of a prevalent common identity was observed among the various parties to the PBO. Contractors’ capabilities to deliver on time and to budget based on their expertise remained pivotal within the PBO thus abandoning the attainment of the client’s pre-defined socio-economic objectives. Cases of faulty and ineffective organisational architecture, functional and communication issues were observed.
Research limitations/implications: Based upon these findings, it is recommended that the VIDM be adopted at the commencement of the PBO lifecycle and used at various intervals by project managers and other stakeholders for assessing the levels of organisational viability.
Originality/value: The methodology and findings resulting from this study represent information from fieldwork conducted by the author and as such have not been used elsewhere.


Awuzie, B., & McDermott, P. (2016). A systems approach to assessing organisational viability in project based organisations. Built Environment Project and Asset Management, 6(3), 268-283.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Apr 7, 2016
Publication Date Apr 7, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2017
Journal Built Environment Project and Asset Management
Print ISSN 2044-124X
Publisher Emerald
Volume 6
Issue 3
Pages 268-283
Publisher URL
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