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Investigation of Unethical Practices in the Construction Industry and Potential Preventive Measures Using Nigeria as Case Study

Abstract

The construction industry is fraught with unethical practices traceable to construction professionals which have affected the performance of the industry negatively especially the negative image it projects the construction industry. Extant studies on unethical practices focused on the effects and types of unethical practices with some going further to study measures that can be adopted to curb unethical practices. In the Nigerian construction industry, limited studies exist on measures to curb unethical practices.

The aim of this study is to identify the most prevalent unethical practices among construction industry professionals and suitable measures adopted to curb them. This study conducted a desktop literature review of literature from 2003 to 2019 on unethical practices, prevalent unethical practices and measures adopted to curb unethical practices within the construction industry. The major findings of this study are: although unethical practices are difficult and challenging to contain, they can be curbed; 23 prevalent unethical practices within the construction industry were found and the most prevalent ones are bribery, collusive tendering, bid cutting, conflict of interest and fraud.

The study found that most measures adopted to curb unethical practices are responsibility-based in nature. These responsibilities are expected of all stakeholders – Governments of countries, professional bodies/institutions, construction organizations and construction professionals. The most advocated measures to curb unethical practices are leadership by example, zero-tolerance policy for unethical practices, implementation of code of ethics and training/retraining construction professionals on codes of ethics, promotion of ethical construction culture and appropriate prosecution of professionals involved in unethical practices.

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