PurposeThis study aims to proffer a theoretical narrative explaining the poor financial performance of public highway agencies in Nigeria. This study critically spotlights seminal works in the literature offering theoretical narratives on the poor financial performance of public infrastructure projects, to discuss whether they adequately capture the relationship between psychological factors, project governance/leadership issues and knowledge/skill deficiencies related to the cost performance of infrastructure projects in the developing world. The evaluation reveals the predominant contextual exclusivity of these theoretical narratives to the developed world, which tend to under-represent developing countries, such as those on the African continent.Design/methodology/approachUsing a case study research strategy, longitudinal documentary/archival data for 61 highway projects were analyzed. In total, 16 interviews were also conducted with highway officials from the three highway agencies responsible for the execution of the projects. A two-stage deductive-inductive thematic analysis of the collated data was carried out to identify barriers to the financial management of public highway projects, the result of which is cognitively mapped out.FindingsThe study showcases empirical insight on cost overruns experienced in Nigerian public projects, because of the trickle-down effect of human and organizational environment, as well as because of workers’ knowledge/skill deficiencies.Research limitations/implicationsThe developed theory is contextual to Nigeria, and there is scope for testing its generalisability to other developing nations.Originality/valueThe in-depth trajectory provided uncovers an intricate web of technical and psycho-social, organizational and institutional issues, which have not been identified and explained by previous theoretical narratives.
Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2018
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