Political Influence On Effective Project Management In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Political Influence On Effective Project Management In Nigeria


This study focused on the Political Influence On Effective Project Management In Nigeria, Enugu State as case study. The study is was specifically focused on examining the impact of political ideology on project management in Nigeria; ascertaining the effect of political instability on project management and determining the effect of the government annual budgeting in project management.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are staff of project department at the Enugu state ministry of Works and housing.

Successful project management is directly linked to the ability of project managers and other key players to understand the importance of organizational politics and how to make them work for project success. While most of us view politics with distaste, there is no denying that effective managers are often those who are willing and able to employ appropriate political tactics to further their project goals. This paper offers some thoughts on the role of politics in successful project management, identifying ways in which project managers can use politics in a positive and effective manner.

Table of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Hypothesis of the study
  • 1.6 Significance of the study
  • 1.7 Scope of the study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the study
  • 1.9 Definition of terms
  • 1.10 Organizations of the study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the study
  • 3.3 Sample size determination
  • 3.4 Sample size selection technique and procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of data collection
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the study
  • 3.10 Ethical consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of hypothesis

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Project management body of knowledge defines Project management as the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of the 47 logically grouped project management processes (Project Management Institute (PMI), 2013).

It has been recognized over the last 30 years that project management is an efficient tool to handle novel or complex activities. Arash and Mehdi, (2005) asserted that it is more efficient than traditional method of management, such as practice of functional division in a format hierarchical organization, for handling such situations. The process of bringing new project on stream and into the market imposes demands on established organisations and necessitates different management techniques from those require to maintain day to day operations. Such circumstances, where company has a finite unique and unfamiliar undertaken, the technique of project management can be successfully implemented. These undertaken would call for more and faster decision making techniques than possible in a normal operation and making right choices will be critical to company success.

One of the most powerful but frequently overlooked influencers of successful project management concerns the roles played by knowledgeable personnel in using power and political behavior to promote successful implementation. Most of us tend to regard political activity with a sort of repugnance, finding the conduct of politics to be both personally distasteful and organizationally damaging. There is an interesting paradox at work here, however. Common experience will demonstrate to both practitioners and neutral observers that for all our often-expressed personal disdain for the exercise of politics, we readily acknowledge that this process is often one of the prime moving forces within any organization, for better or worse.

Political behavior, sometimes defined as any process by which individuals and groups seek, acquire, and maintain power, is pervasive in modern corporations. Examples can include activities as significant as negotiating for a multi-million dollar commitment of money for a new project to as mundane as determining who will attain a corner once; as predatory as the willfull attempt to derail another‘s career to those as benign as deciding where the yearly once party will be held. The key underlying feature of each of these and countless other examples is that the processes by which we make decisions and seek power, the issues we deem ‘power-laden‘, and steps we go to to maintain our position are often an emotionally-charged sequence having important personal and corporate ramifications.

The field of project management is one that is particularly fraught with political processes for several unique reasons. First, because project managers in many companies do not have a stable base of power (either high status or over-riding authority), they must learn to cultivate other methods of influence in order to secure the resources from other departments necessary to attain project success. Second, and closely related to the first reason, these projects often exist outside of the traditional line (functional) structure, relegating project managers to the role of supernumerary. Almost all resources (financial, human, informational, etc.) must be negotiated and bargained.

Finally many project managers are not given the authority to conduct formal performance evaluations on their project team subordinates, denying them an important base of hierarchical power. Without the authority to reward or punish, they are placed in the position of having to influence subordinate behavior into engaging in appropriate behaviors. Consequently, they must learn important ‘human‘ skills such as bargaining and influence, conflict management, and negotiation.

Senior and successful project managers have long known the importance of maintaining strong political ties throughout their organizations as a method for achieving project success. Indeed, it is the rare successful project managers who are not conversant in and knowledgeable of the importance of politics for effectively performing their jobs. That point illustrates an important underlying aspect of the characteristics of political behavior: it can either be the project manager‘s firm friend or most remorseless foe. In other words, whatever decision one comes to regarding the use of politics in the quest for project success, it can- not be ignored.

This statement does not have to make the reader uncomfortable. No one would argue that project managers must become immersed in the brutal, self-serving side of corporate political life. Clearly, there are so many examples of predatory behavior that most of us are leery of being considered ‘politically adept‘. Nevertheless, the key point is that project management and politics are inextricably linked. Successful project managers are usually those who intuitively understand that their job consists of more than simply being technically and managerially competent.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In my research and consulting experience, most companies spend thousands of hours to plan and implement a multimillion or even multibillion dollar investment, developing intricate plans and schedules, forming a cohesive team, and maintaining realistic specification and time targets, all to have the project derailed by political processes.

This is a pity, particularly in that the end result is often foreseeable early in the development of the project: usually as the result of a project manager‘s refusal to acknowledge and cultivate political ties, both internal to the organization and externally with the clients.

At some point, almost every project manager has faced the difficulties involved in managing a project in the face of corporate politics [1]. Recalcitrant functional managers, unclear lines of authority, tentative resource commitments, lukewarm upper management support, and hard lessons in negotiation are all characteristics of many project manager‘s daily lives. Set within this all-too-familiar framework, it is a wonder that most projects ever get completed.

It is ironic that while project management theory has sought for years to find new and better methods for improving the discipline, power and political behavior, one of the most pervasive and frequently pernicious elements impacting on project implementation has rarely been addressed. Even in cases where it has been examined, the discussion is often so cursory or theory-driven that it offers little in the way of useful advice for practicing project managers. Whatever our current level of understanding of power and politics in organizations, we must all come to the realization that its presence is ubiquitous and impact is significant. With this acceptance as a starting point, we can begin to address power and politics as a necessary part of project management and learn to use it to our advantage through increasing the likelihood of successfully managing projects.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to examine the Political Influence On Effective Project Management In Nigeria.

Specifically, the study aims to;

  1. Examine the impact of political ideology on project management in Nigeria
  2. Ascertain the effect of political instability on project management
  3. Determine the effect of the government annual budgeting in project management

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions will be answered by the study;

  1. Does political ideology affect project management in Nigeria?
  2. Does political instability have any effect on project management in Nigeria ?
  3. Does the government annual budgeting have any effect on project management ?

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

The following hypothesis was formulated and tested by the study

H0: there is no significant relationship between political ideology and project management in Nigeria

H02: there is no significant relationship between political instability and project management in Nigeria

H03: there is no significant relationship between government annual budgeting and project management in Nigeria

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study can go a long way in throwing up indices which can be successfully applied to boost project delivery in Nigeria. This can help in informing policy development in the subject matter and can help project guidance to professionals involved in construction projects by building industry in Nigeria, from design to implementation. It can also establish a clear need for professional project managers in Nigerian building industry because of paucity of literature on project management principles and practices in Nigeria, it is hoped that empirical studies such as this can help enrich the indigenous literature on the concept.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study is on political influence on effective project management in nigeria. This study examined the influence of political ideology, political instability and government annual budgeting on public project management in Nigeria. This study was carried out in Enugu state Nigeria.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

The major constrain of this study is time factors as the researcher had a little time frame to carry out this study. More so financial constrains and language barriers were also major key factors that limited this study

1.9 Definition of Terms

Project Management

Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget.

Political Instability:

The unstable structure of a government and its inclination to collapse in a short time due to unstable political changes.

Political Ideology

A political ideology is a certain set of ethical ideals, principles, doctrines, myths or symbols of a social movement, institution, class or large group that explains how society should work and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order.

1.10 Organizations of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the Political Influence On Effective Project Management In Nigeria, Enugu State as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.

5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the Political Influence On Effective Project Management In Nigeria, Enugu State as case study. The study is was specifically focused on examining the impact of political ideology on project management in Nigeria; ascertaining the effect of political instability on project management and determining the effect of the government annual budgeting in project management.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are staff of project department at the Enugu state ministry of Works and housing.

5.3 Conclusions

With respect to the analysis and the findings of this study, the following conclusions emerged;

Politics and project management are two processes which, while very different, are also inextricably linked. No one can go far in project management without understanding just how far politics will take them in their organization. It is in confronting their frequent failures at getting their projects successfully implemented through traditional power means that most managers are forced through expedience to adopt methods for influence and politics. These are not ‘bad‘ terms, in spite of the fact that the majority of managers in our organizations,

  1. Do not enjoy employing political means to their ends, and
  2. Do not understand the political processes very well.

Too many of us have learned about politics the hard way, through being victimized by someone who was cannier, more experienced or more ruthless than we were. Given that our first experiences with politics were often unpleasant, it is hardly surprising that many of us swore off political behavior.

For better of worse, project managers do not have the luxury of turning their backs on organizational politics. Too much of what they do depends upon their ability to effectively manage not only the technical realms of their job, but also the behavioral side as well. Politics constitutes one organizational process that is ubiquitous; that is, it operates across organizations and functional boundaries. Political behavior is not inherently evil or vicious; rather, it is only in how it is employed that has earned it so much animosity. Successful project managers are keenly aware that politics, used judiciously, can have an extraordinarily positive impact on the implementation of their projects.

5.4 Recommendation

This study recommends that the firm can maintain their current project scope management practices the analysis found a positive and significant relationship between Project Scope Management and Project Performance in Setraco meaning the more of the present Project Scope Management practices, the higher the performance is likely to be.

The study also makes recommendation in line with the finding on Project Cost Management that identifies a negative and significant effect of Project Cost Management on Project Performance in Setraco. The study recommends that efforts should be made to improve the nature of project cost management practices by conducting adequate costing of projects and reducing mismanagement of funds.

The firm can remain indifferent about their Project communication management practices as the study found a positive but non-significant relationship between Project Communications Management and Project Performance in Setraco. However, the firm may choose to find ways to improve their communications management to a point where its positive effects may become significant even though it may not be a pressing issue.

This study also recommends in line with the findings on Project Risk Managements that the firm should make efforts that would improve the nature of project risk management practices as the study found that the present risk management practices contribute negatively to the performance of Setraco Projects. The firm can do this by carrying out more extensive and detailed risk assessments of their projects and evaluations before projects are implemented.

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