Systems thinking and CMM for continuous improvement in the construction industry

Temitope Seun Omotayo*, Prince Boateng, Oluyomi Osobajo, Adekunle Oke, Loveline Ifeoma Obi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a capability maturity model (CMM) developed to implement continuous improvement in small and medium scale construction companies (SMSCC) in Nigeria. Design/methodology/approach: A multi-strategy approach involving qualitative studies of SMSCC in Nigeria was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposively selected construction experts in Nigeria to identify variables essential for continuous improvement in SMSCC. Data collected were thematically analysed using NVIVO. Subsequently, a system thinking approach is employed to design and develop the CMM for implementing continuous improvement SMSCC, by exploring possible relationships between the variables established. Findings: CMM provided a five-level approach for the inclusion of investigated variables such as team performance; culture; structure; post-project reviews, financial risk management, waste management policy and cost control. These variables are factors leading to continuous improvement in SMSCC, implementable within a six to seven and a half years’ timeline. Practical implications: The system thinking model revealed cogent archetypes in the form of reinforcing loops that can be applied in developing the performance of SMSCC. Continuous improvement is feasible. However, it takes time to implement. Further longitudinal studies on the cost of implementing continuous improvement through CMM a knowledge transfer project can be initiated. Originality/value: A methodical strategy for enhancing the effectiveness and operations of SMSCC in developing countries can be extracted from the causal loop diagram and the CMM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-296
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Issue number2
Early online date23 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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