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Title: An investigation into the causes and effects of project failure in government projects in developing countries : Ghana as a case study
Author: Damoah, Isaac Sakyi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 3640
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2015
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In recent years, project management has become an important part of any organisation and/or government as a result of the changing nature of managing organisations due to technological advancement, and a complex, competitive global marketplace. Projects require huge capital outlay from organisations and/or governments; however, literature indicates that huge sums of money are being lost through project failure and Ghana’s government is no exception to this trend. Therefore, this study investigated the perception of the extent of project failure, causes of project failure and the effects of project failure on key stakeholders of Ghana’s government projects. The purpose of this research is to bridge literature gap(s) in project management and also to provide statistical data that can be used by project management practitioners and policy makers in Ghana and other developing countries. An initial literature review was conducted to development theoretical framework that was used to determine the extent of projects failure, causes and effects of projects failure in Ghanaian government projects. Ten (10) semi-structured interviews (general public (2), contractors (2) and project management practitioners (PMP) (6)) were carried out to evaluate the perception that the participants about the extent of failure, causes and effects of Ghana government projects failure. The data were analysed using content and thematic data analysis techniques. The literature reviewed and the exploratory data identified six (6) project failure criteria that were used to assess the extent of project failure in Ghanaian government projects. Thirty-two (32) and twenty-six (26) possible causes and effects of Ghanaian government project failure were identified respectively. Further data were collected through questionnaire surveys of 265 (contractors=78, PMP=81 and general public=106) participants. The questionnaire data were analysed using statistical techniques which included Descriptive Statistics, Means, Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficients, and Kruskal-Wallis H test of difference in ranks. The findings showed that all the three categories of the study’s participants (contractors, PMP and general public) agreed that Ghanaian government projects fail on all six criteria; however, the extent of failure differs from criterion to criterion. They agreed that the worst performing criterion is meeting the projected time, followed by cost, deliverables, stakeholders’ satisfaction, contribution to national development and contribution to the sector where the project is implemented respectively. Secondly, the 32 causes of Ghanaian government projects failure included: monitoring, corruption, political interference, change in government, bureaucracy, fluctuation of prices, lack of continuity, planning, delays in payment, release of funds, change in project leadership, management practices, procurement processes, project funding, commitment to project, selection of project managers, project team formation, project management techniques, feasibility studies, communication, supervision, scope change, capacity, task definition, definition of specification, requirement, regulations, culture and belief systems, user involvement, labour, pressure groups (media, NGOs, political activities etc.), and natural disaster. Further, most of these causes of Ghanaian government projects failure were linked to leadership; however, this was not practitioners but political leadership. The effects identified included: it slows down economic growth, loss of revenue by state, unemployment, bad image for government, collapse of local businesses, cost escalation, government sector underdevelopment, loss of foreign aid/grants, discourages investment, stricter donor regulations, loss of election, financial institutions lose confidence in the state, loss of revenue by the citizens, lack of capacity, sub-standard infrastructure, it slow down citizens' human empowerment, loss of worker hours, pollution, armed robbery and theft, relocation of services, denial of citizens' basic rights, loss of properties, emotional stress on citizens, accidents and deaths, imprisonment, and abandonment of homes. The study revealed that some of these effects are direct whilst others are indirect. Thus, the findings show that the effects are interrelated and sequential – one effect could lead to another effect and in that order. Moreover, the causes and effects were not of equal importance; however, there was a high degree of agreement between the three categories of the study’s participants on the most important causes and effects of failure in Ghanaian government projects.
Supervisor: Mouzughi, Yusra ; Akwei, Cynthia A. ; Zhang, Lihong Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Project failure ; government ; developing ; management ; effects ; public ; contractors