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System archetypes underlying the problematic behaviour of construction activity in Kenya


  • Titus Kivaa Mbiti
  • Nick Blismas
  • Ron Wakefield
  • Ric Lombardo


Construction activity in Kenya fluctuates excessively and grows very slowly. This feature causes adverse effects on the construction industry. When a drastic fall in construction activity occurs, the industry loses its production capacity; manpower moves to other industries in the country and abroad and many construction firms go bankrupt. During recovery, the shortage of contractors leads to increase in tender prices and sometimes poor quality work. These problems are best understood by modelling the construction industry as a system, because the systems approach to problem resolution involves an overarching study of the forces that give rise to the problems while simultaneously avoiding the distractions arising from excessive scrutiny of the problems themselves. In this paper, a system dynamics study of the construction industry of Kenya is presented. The system archetypes underlying the problematic behaviour of the industry are observed to be the balancing process with a delay phenomenon, coupled with the limits to growth phenomenon. It is recommended that (1) regulation of the response of the industry to changes in demand for its services; and (2) expansion of the construction market, could minimize fluctuations in construction activity and foster continual growth of the activity in Kenya.

Suggested Citation

  • Titus Kivaa Mbiti & Nick Blismas & Ron Wakefield & Ric Lombardo, 2011. "System archetypes underlying the problematic behaviour of construction activity in Kenya," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 3-13.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:29:y:2011:i:1:p:3-13
    DOI: 10.1080/01446193.2010.529924

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