The role of client in inducing project risk has not been adequately covered and the
construction industry. A focus on this aspect of risk should enable construction to square up
the ‘risk circle’ for managing projects and contribute to the general development of risk
management strategies for construction organisations. The thesis investigates the client role
from an organisational behaviour perspective.
The aim of the thesis is to determine whether organisational characteristics influence risk
management behaviour for the client, and whether these characteristics affect the project
risk performance positively or negatively. The objectives of the research that underpin the
thesis were threefold. First it was to explore the organisational characterisation of the
construction client in the management of risk within the project environment. Second, it was
to establish the effect of the client’s risk behaviour on the project. Third, to identify the
dominant parameters which affect client risk management, and to investigate the interaction
between the parameters and the client’s risk management practices and attributes.
Establishing such interaction will show how the parameters explain the nature and extent of
risk transfer from the organisational into the project. It also facilitate the provision of a
guidance to define the client organisational attributes that are sensitive to project risk, or
those attributes that are not.
The study adopted a competing values framework on organisation behaviour that resulted in
an elicitation instrument for testing the relationship between organisational characteristics
and risk performance. Data was obtained by surveying a sample of client organisations who
are actively engaged in procuring projects in the UK construction industry.
The outcome of the research showed that the parameters that are represented in the
competing values framework (namely, Open system, Rational model, Internal process, and
Human resources) affected the risk practices and attributes of the client in different ways.
The outcome specifically showed that the Rational Model has a significant positive influence
on risk performance while the Internal Process has a significant negative influence on risk
performance. Both the Open system and Human resources showed insignificant influence.
This supports the notion that construction risk is part of a functional system that extends to
the client risk performance and that the client organisational characteristics contribute to the
risk behaviour within the construction project. The thesis offers two very significant
contributions to the body of knowledge that underpins the management of risk in project and
construction organisations: namely, the contribution to the level of risk made by the client
organisations should form part of the considerations in any project appraisal; and the risk
contributions by the client should address the Rational model and Internal process contexts
of their organisation.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.