An Examination of PERT Implementation in the Libyan Construction Industry
Construction projects regularly face scheduling, cost control, risk management, and planning problems, causing the projects to finish beyond their predetermined due date; this is a global phenomenon. However, such significant challenges are increasing in the context of developing countries, including Libya. Previous research by Greenwood, Abubaker and Osborne (2008) on the construction industry in Libya has shown that many factors contribute to project delay, and the effect of these may be mitigated by employing effective project management (PM) techniques, including Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). However, to date, there has been no previous in-depth research on PM techniques like PERT in Libya. Thus, the main aim of this study was to investigate the extent of PERT implementation by construction projects in Libya through identifying the benefits and the barriers of such a technique in PM.
Based on a mixed method design and a pragmatic philosophical approach, this study employed an exploratory sequential dominant status typology to achieve its objectives. It involved two separate, but integrated phases.
The first phase was quantitative research based on a simple random sample of 300 managers/contractors from the construction sector in Libya, who completed a questionnaire. The main aim of this phase was to test the hypothesized relationships between the four constructs of the conceptual framework: PERT implementation, benefits of PERT, barriers to PERT, and project-delay factors.
The second phase was qualitative in nature based on a purposive sample, in which 12 managers/engineers from the construction companies participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews. The aim of this phase was to explain the findings of the first phase by interviewing managers and engineers. The qualitative data were transcribed, coded and then thematically analysed. The qualitative findings confirmed the infrequent implementation of PERT in the construction industry in Libya, as Gantt chart is the most frequent and effective tool used by Libyan construction sector. Additionally, the respondents perceived many benefits of PERT implementation, including: effective communication, cost control, planning scheduling, time management, and risk management related benefits. However, there are many barriers to PERT implementations perceived by managers/engineers. These barriers include lack of resources and training, e.g., required skills, related training, and the disadvantages of PERT, e.g., complex and time consuming.
This is the first in-depth study on PERT implementation in the Libyan construction sector. It contributes to knowledge by providing an in-depth investigation of the current situation of PERT implementation regarding its perceived benefits and barriers, and its role in mitigating the factors of project delay. This could inform the development of future use implementation of project management (PM) techniques and tools, in particular, PERT, in the Libyan construction sector. Finally, this study developed a range of recommendations, including a theoretical best practice framework, limitations, and future research opportunities.
- School of Management