Attitudes and Personality towards Risk Management in the Construction Industry


By Zakari Tsiga, Michael Emes, Alan Smith

University College London
Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking
United Kingdom



This research paper looks at the attitudes and personality of people who deliver construction projects. The study was performed using an online questionnaire which encompassed aspects of risk decisions and personality questions. In total, 50 responses have been collected and analysed. The results of this study show that people who have experience in the delivery of projects in the construction industry are aware of the risk in projects and prefer not to take on the risk in most cases. In the aspect of personality, the results were compared to the Carl Jung personality theory and shows that the participants are extroverts, judging, more intuitive than sensing, and are equally thinkers and feelers.

Keywords: Construction Projects; Project Risk Management; Personality Profile; Risk Decisions.

JEL codes: D20, D81, L10, M19


As one of the biggest sectors, the construction industry is one that entails all the activities from project initiation to the final demolition of developed infrastructure. Being a service industry, the construction sector is interlinked with other sectors. The industry is the largest employer as compared to others (World Market Intelligence, 2010). The report by the Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics (2015) states that the cumulative volume of construction will reach US$ 212 trillion by 2030.

Project success is a topic of great focus and one that is currently being researched in project management (Alexandrova & Ivanova, 2012). The global construction industry is one of competition and constant innovation. Companies invest heavily in innovation to improve performance and capabilities. All projects are accompanied by a variety of risk. Previous research by Tsiga et. al (2016) has identified the critical success factors for the construction industry and their research also highlights the importance of risk management in the delivery of projects for the construction industry.

There are currently gaps in research in the construction industry which has led to the implementation of generic project management techniques. Risk management in projects has been researched and improved in recent times, but still, project success rate failed to improve in a similar pattern (Mir & Pinnington, 2014). Studies by Johansen et. al. (2014) have suggested that project risk managers and their teams are poorly equipped to handle risk and uncertainties. Katz (1991) suggest the need for the development of human, conceptual and technical skills of project managers. This has led to researchers such as Montequina et. al. (2015), Fisher (2011) and Tsiga et. al (2016) to take the first steps in identifying the ideal skills for project managers. El-Sabaa (2001) also suggest a framework for the selection of perfect project managers.

This research study identifies the attitudes and personality of project participants towards risk management in the construction industry. The decision scenarios implemented in this study have been derived from well documented past projects (Tsiga, Emes, & Smith, 2016), some of the decisions have led to project success and others to failure. In the aspect of the personality section of this study, it was derived from Carl G. Jung’s work on psychological theory (Jung, 1988). The theory looks at how people behave differently in different situations. The differences depict how individual use mental reasoning in justifying their individual reasoning. The Carl G. Jung’s psychological preferences are shown in Table 1.

There are currently various psychometric questionnaires that have been derived from the Carl G. Jung’s work, an example of such is the Temperament Sorter II (KTS II) (Keirsey & Bates, 1984) and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (Briggs & Myers, 1977). Various studies have highlighted the importance and need of such tool (Clinebell & Stecher, 2003). The approach implemented in this research has been used to identify the attitudes of project participants for the Petroleum Industry (Tsiga, Emes, & Smith, 2016) and Space Industry (Tsiga, Emes, & Smith, 2016)…


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 6th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers

About the Authors

Zakari Danlami Tsiga

London, United Kingdom


Zakari Danlami Tsiga
, MSc is a PhD student working at the University College London. Prior to beginning the PhD program, Zakari undertook a masters’ program at the same university, this gave him the opportunity to work on the delivery of various projects for different clients such as Microsoft and the London Clearing House. From his work he developed an interest in Technology management and the importance of successful project delivery


Emes, PhD

London, United Kingdom



Michael Emes, MEng, PhD, MIET, MAPM, MINCOSE is Deputy Director of UCL Centre for Systems Engineering and Head of the Technology Management Group at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). He completed his first degree in Engineering, Economics and Management at St John’s College, Oxford, and a PhD at MSSL in developing cooling technologies for spacecraft. He worked as a strategy consultant for Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman) on projects in retail, energy and transport, including a project advising the Department for Transport on how to address the problems of the rail sector in the last days of Railtrack plc. Michael now conducts teaching and research at UCL in the areas of systems engineering and technology management in domains including transport, health, defence and aerospace. He is a member of APM, INCOSE and the IET. He is Programme Manager and a lead trainer for the European Space Agency’s Project Manager Training Course and is Programme Director for UCL’s MSc in the Management of Complex Projects.


Prof. Alan Smith, PhD

London, United Kingdom



Alan Smith was awarded a PhD at Leicester University in 1978 based on his X-ray study of supernova remnants. His work involved the payload development and flight of a Skylark sounding rocket from Woomera, South Australia. Between 1984-1990 he worked for the European Space Agency at its technology centre in the Netherlands as both an astrophysicist and as an instrument developer. His early career involved a combination of technology development (space flight hardware on European, and Russian satellites), project management and astrophysics. In 1990 he joined University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, initially as Head of Detector Physics eventually becoming Director and Head of Department (2005). In 1998 he was made a Professor of Detector Physics. While at UCL he has been Director of UCL’s Centre for Advanced Instrumentation Systems (1995-2005), a Co-Director of the Smart Optics Faraday Partnership (2002-2005) and is presently founding Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering (1998-present). Alan was appointed Vice-Dean for Enterprise for the faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in 2007, helped set up UCL’s Centre for Space Medicine in 2011 and is a member of UCL’s Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction board. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Association of Project Management.