The Effect Of Motivation Of Labour, Cost And Productivity On Nigerian Construction Industry

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The Effect Of Motivation Of Labour, Cost And Productivity On Nigerian Construction Industry


Motivation is considered as an important tool for enhancing worker’ productivity. Construction sector is not an exception. It has been empirically established that motivation has positive impact on construction worker’s productivity. Moreover, empirical studies have shown that productivity in the sector has been decreasing globally. This study therefore aims at examining the relationship between motivation, resistance and productivity and develops a model of this relationship as a way of addressing this challenge. Quantitative research design was employed with same questionnaire to the population covered. Productivity level was measured by work study with the use of five minutes field rating. Stratified and random sampling techniques were used to administer questionnaire to the supervisors, craftsmen and contractors sampled from a selected number of medium and large size firms in Lagos, Nigeria. Stratified sampling was used to divide supervisors into strata of builder, architect and engineer. The findings also reveal that the influence of resistance among workers is not sufficient to impair on the level of productivity in construction firms in Lagos, Nigeria. The study concludes that productivity decrease being experienced in Nigeria construction industry may continue if motivation strategy is not re-designed to meet workers need.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Human resource management is of strategic importance when it comes to industries that are labour intensive like construction industry. The effective management of human resource is the key towards achieving the higher construction workforce productivity thus accomplishing the construction projects within their predefined limits. The bond between motivation and productivity is widely accepted and of high significance as well. The relationship between motivation and productivity can be summarized as that productivity is directly linked to motivation, and motivation is, in turn, dependent on productivity. Suitable motivation of labour can be hypothesized as a key contributor to maximizing workers productivity Kazaz et al (2008.

Workers need motivation just as equipments need fuel and operators. Motivation is a process which activates productivity. In order to effectively manage the human resources and to make sure that workforce is productive enough; it is necessary to understand those factors which have edge over others for motivating the construction workforce. In this study, the potential of organizational and economic factors will be studied for motivating employees.

There were several studies which explored the relationship between motivational factors and construction workforce productivity around the globe but there was a scarcity of this work in the local environment of Nigeria. The construction industry plays an important role in the development of the economy of the country. Construction industry is an area influenced by many different factors such as labour, material, equipment and construction methods etc. Among these factors, human resources come first without which, other resources would not be utilized or transformed into productive use. Any improvement in labour productivity would contribute a great deal to the improvement of the overall productivity as identified by Hashim (1995).

The motivation concept is generally defined as a composition of powers and mechanisms which help to direct human behavior in a desired manner, or with a more specific context it is described as the all convincing and encouraging actions which help workers fulfill their tasks willingly and to come closer to project objectives. Motivation of the labour force is of paramount importance because the quality of human performance at the workplace depends largely upon motivation. That is, higher motivation brings higher productivity which is suggested by Kazaz et al (2008).

According to most researchers there is a positive relationship between motivation and productivity. This means that when motivation increases, a rise in productivity is also expected. This reflects the belief that an increased motivation level causes an increase in productivity. Achieving the results demands that an adequate quality of inputs is provided in this first place and improved construction workforce productivity means a better input and this it will help contractors to be more competent and profitable whilst executing their jobs.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Construction companies exist for the purpose of rendering some services. For the organization to meet its objectives, people are employed in the organization in order to help the organization meet its objectives. Thus, in order to ensure that people employed in the organization perform optimally towards the realization of organizational goals, they need to be motivated to work.

Motivating people to work entails meting their needs. There is a great controversy over the issue of motivating people.

Some people are of the view that such extrinsic factors like money, praise, and quality of supervision and company’s policy can motivate people to work, while others are of the view that such extrinsic factors like advancement quality of the job done by person, recognition and growth can motivate workers to productivity.

It is in view of these controversies that this study wants to look at the motivation of employees in the organization by using Marlum Construction Company as a case study; and in doing this, the following questions arise:

1.3 Objectives of the Study.

This research work hopes to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To examine the factors which motivate employees to perform in the organization
  2. To look at various techniques of motivating people to performance in the construction industry
  3. To ascertain the effect of motivation of labour, cost and productivity on workers in the construction industry of Nigeria.
  4. To identify the problems associated with the motivation of workers in the construction industry of Nigeria.
  5. To suggest the solutions to such problems, if any.
  6. Finally, to improve people’s knowledge in this area of organizational behaviour.

1.4 Research Questions

It is in view of the above problems that the following questions arise:

  1. What are the factors that motivate employees to perform in the construction industry of Nigeria?
  2. What are the available techniques of motivating employees for higher productivity?
  3. Do motivation of labour, and cost actually steer employees productive capacity?
  4. What are the problems militating against employees motivation, and
  5. How can these problems of employees motivation be addressed in order to improve productivity in the construction sector of Nigeria?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses will be tested in this study:

  1. Ho: The quality of supervision will not motivate workers productivity.
    Hi: The quality of supervision will motivate workers productivity.
  2. Ho: A worker’s perception of what obtained in his organizational will not motivate him to greater productivity.
    Hi: A worker’s perception of what obtained in his organizational will motivate him to greater productivity.
  3. Ho: A worker’s perception of organizational appraisal policy will motivate him to greater productivity.
    Hi: A worker’s perception of organizational appraisal policy will not motivate him to greater productivity.
  4. Ho: The worker’s satisfaction with its fringe benefits will not motivate him to greater productivity.
    Hi: The worker’s satisfaction with its fringe benefits will motivate him to greater productivity.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will educate the management of the organization (especially construction companies in Nigeria) on how to motivate their workers to productivity.

The findings of this study will generate people’s interest in researching into other areas of motivation in the organization will enrich the literature on motivation as a phenomenon.

Finally, the study hopes to enrich people’s knowledge in this area of organizational behaviour and management of people in the organization.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is on effect of motivation of labour, cost and productivity on the construction industry of Nigeria. The study will also covers the various techniques of motivation and theories of motivation as they impact on employees productivity in an organization.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined as used in this study:


Is the ratio of output or production capacity of the workers in an organization. It is the relationship between the amount of one or more inputs and the amount of outputs from a clearly identified process.


Are the workers in an organization, working for the accomplishment of the organizational goals. In this study, the employees are those staffs of the organization,


Motivation is a decision-making process, through which the individual chooses the desired outcomes and sets in motion the behaviour appropriate to them”.

Adequate Motivation:

These are factors (familiarity, concern and driving force), which exist or are provided in a work situation either physically or psychologically which determine the input and productivity level of the worker.


Intimacy or Familiarity could be described as the feeling of warmth and friendliness based on interpersonal relationship among people.


Consideration or Concern refers to a situation where both their colleagues and managers treat staffs with understanding. In this case, there is both a personal and human touch in dealing with workers.


Moral refers to staff emotional and mental level of zeal.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

5.1.1 Motivating Factors that Enhances Workers Productivity

Motivation is a useful tool for enhancing productivity in work setting. The first objective of this study was to investigate motivating factors that enhance construction workers’ productivity. The result indicates the dominance of financial reward as a major motivator of workers in the construction sector in Lagos, Nigeria. The five most ranked motivating factors influencing supervisors are job security, good salary, compliance with safety, appreciation of efforts and bonus respectively. These factors were identified as important in enhancing supervisors’ productivity. The least motivating factor is overtime. The five major motivating factors influencing the performance of craftsmen are compliance with safety, good salary, bonus, appreciation of efforts, and recognition by the authority in that order.

Factor analysis grouped factors influencing workers performance into six major factors. Names were given to each group based on author’s initiative and knowledge of the factors. The first group is named financial reward. In this group are job security, bonus, good salary, promotion opportunity and appreciation of efforts. The second dominant group is called social relations. Members of this group are satisfaction from work, cooperation from other workers, and freedom at work. The third group is called work hygiene. In this group is good supervision, and good work environment. The fourth group is called status group. In this group is taking part in decision and recognition by authority. The fifth group is named safety need. Members of this group are challenging work and compliance with safety. The sixth group is skill development which members are opportunity for skill development and overtime. This grouping lays credence to the fact that workers in the construction sector in Lagos, Nigeria prefer financial reward. These are extrinsic motivators that workers prefer.

These preferences of workers were compared with what is obtainable in the industry from the perspective of contractors. The first five most applied motivating factors are challenging work, opportunity for skill development, good supervision, good work environment, and compliance with safety. This indicates that application of motivation is not in line with the needs of workers. Workers prefer financial reward, whereas contractors operate non financial reward. Working overtime is the least motivator. Both contractors and workers ranked it as the least motivator. The study also determined whether there is statistically significant difference between factors that motivate builders, architects and engineers who were considered as supervisors in this study. One way analysis of variance was used for the analysis. The result indicates that there is no statistically significant difference between their mean. They are motivated by the same factor which is financial reward. Therefore, for productivity to increase in the construction sector, consideration should be given to financial reward in practice for workers to be motivated to higher output.

5.1.2 Impact of Motivation on Workers’ Productivity

The second objective of this study was to examine the impact of construction workers motivation on their productivity. This objective was realised through the ranking of motivating factors influence on craftsmen. The ranking of motivating factors influence on craftsmen was achieved in objective one. Craftsmen were chosen for the analysis because work progress on site is determined by their skill and competence as discussed in section 2.6.5. The result of the analysis indicates high positive linear relationship between motivation and productivity. Therefore, the more the motivation experienced by the workforce, the higher the productivity level attained. Moreover, the average productivity level of workers in the industry as measured in this study is 58.1%.

The cost overrun of projects range between 1.85% – 22.55%. It was observed that 90.9% of projects considered had cost overrun. Furthermore, 81.82% of projects executed in the last five years had time overrun. Time overrun of projects observed range between 12.5% – 200%. Therefore, this is an indication that productivity level does not have positive impact on company performance. The study observed that the higher the initial project cost and time schedule, the more the variation in cost and time required for projects to be completed in construction firms in Lagos, Nigeria. One will be drawn to conclude that since GDP is computed based on company performance, the GDP and productivity level of the sector will continue to be rated low until the issue of company performance is addressed.

5.3 Conclusions

This study has shown that construction workers in Lagos, Nigeria are mostly motivated by financial incentives, while the contractors operate on non financial incentives. This implies that motivation application is not in line with workers needs. Therefore this evidence suggests that this might be responsible for low GDP recorded in the sector. Moreover, another finding in this study was that motivation influences productivity. This was because of the positive linear relationship established between them. Therefore, it can be concluded that motivation has high impact on productivity attainment in the construction sector. The results of the investigation further established that productivity level recorded in the construction sector in Lagos, Nigeria has no impact on company performance. Most of the projects executed had problem of time and cost overrun. Moreover, evidence from this study further indicates that the impact of resistance factors on supervisors and craftsmen in Lagos, Nigeria are the same; hence they are influenced by the same factors. The implication of this outcome is that industry managers will find it easier to address this issue without the need to separate workers into trade or profession in the course of identifying what could cause resistance among them. Moreover, it has been established that workers resist change when their interest is not covered by change agents, this lays credence to the need to address workers interest in change implementation. Multiple regression analysis also reveals that there is high impact of motivation on productivity as well as low influence of resistance on productivity. This outcome also emphasis on the importance of motivation in reducing resistance among workers thereby increasing productivity. The methodology adopted for the study contributes to the actualisation of the aim and objectives of the study.

5.5 Recommendations

This study found that the major factors motivating construction workers is financial reward and that contractors in the industry prefer non financial reward. Moreover, the most ranked motivator among these rewards is job security. Furthermore, productivity level of construction workers is 58% and is directly proportional to motivation level enjoined by workers. However, the productivity level is sufficient to influence company performance positively. Nevertheless, it does not influence company performance in terms of job completion within time and cost limit. Time and cost overrun of projects are recorded in the sector.

Moreover, the study has also shown that resistance among workers is very weak. This is not sufficient to impair productivity. Most of the issues related to resistance are individual factors which are built in motivation variables. Lastly, the model of the relationship between motivation, resistance and productivity indicate that the more workers are motivated, the weaker the resistance experienced and the better the productivity level attained. It is on this premise that the following recommendations are made.

  1. Job security of construction workers in Lagos Nigeria should be ensured. This can be achieved by enactment of employment protection legislation. This law will protect workers against illogical dismissal and retrenchment. This will go a long way at reducing unemployment rate and secure the jobs of individuals.
  2. Good salary is ranked second most influential factor on workers. The study observed that agitation for good salary may not end, mostly in developing nations like Nigeria where devaluation of the local currency is prevalent. The study recommends setting a salary baseline in USA dollar, since the local currency is usually measured against the dollar. At the beginning of each year, conversion to local currency should be done; this will be the salary package for the year. It will help minimize agitation for better pay from workers as well as making government to be more serious with their monetary policies.
  3. Contractors should not see application of financial reward as a burden, beside workers salary, other financial incentives like appreciation of efforts, bonus and promotion opportunity are not for all workers. To address this issue, a time of the year should be set aside to appreciate some staff that have added value to the company within the year by giving them reward in the presence of all. This may be in form of best performed workers of the year or long service award. It will help to boost morale of fellow workers, and motivate them to better performance with a view to winning some other time. In this regard, it is recommended that a reward management officer be appointed who will monitor workers performance and make recommendation based on laid down guidelines. The people to be rewarded can then be limited to the financial strength of the organisation.
  4. The study also established that working overtime is no more acceptable to both workers and contractors. It is recommended that work shift should be a better alternative of getting work done and still meet the time schedule stipulated in the contract documents.
  5. GDP of construction sector may continue to be low if company performance is not improved upon. The study therefore recommends that the stakeholders in the industry should identify factors responsible for poor company performance and take corrective measures. This will boost company performance rating and improve the GDP of the sector.
  6. One major factor identified as capable of causing resistance among workers is discrimination. It is recommended that workers should be treated fairly and disparity between indigenous workers and their foreign counterparts bridged. This will foster loyalty and commitment to the goal of the organisation.

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