Assessment of Uncertainty Management Approaches in Construction Organizations

Venkataramanan Jayaraman1, Tariq S. Abdelhamid2 & Benedict D. Ilozor3

1Project Engineer, Perini Building Co, USA. Email:
2Associate Professor, 116 Human Ecology, School of Planning, Design and Construction, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA 48824-1323. Email:
3Associate Professor and Graduate Assistant & Research Coordinator, Construction Management Programs, School of Engineering Technology, Eastern Michigan University, USA. Email:


Previous research has indicated that in about 85% of the projects, the managers underestimated the extent of uncertainty at the start of a project. Since then limited research has been conducted to study the uncertainty climate in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) organizations. The primary goal of this research was to assess the orientation of construction organizations towards managing uncertainty. A Working Climate Survey (WCS) was used to measure two aspects of uncertainty, namely, personal and work environment uncertainty. Analysis of the responses of 61 construction industry professionals from a wide spectrum of companies indicated the possibility of some correlation between demographic items and results of the study. It was also found that creating the right environment for employees is the first essential step necessary to embrace uncertainty followed by training the employees. Moreover, an improvement in the percentage of responses in dynamic climate was found when only the companies that practice any of the lean construction principles were considered separately from the entire sample. Based on the findings of the research, guidelines for embracing uncertainty in the project and production management phases are developed and presented.


lean construction, construction uncertainty, embracing uncertainty



Jayaraman, V. , Abdelhamid, T.S. & Ilozor, B.D. 2008, 'Assessment of Uncertainty Management Approaches in Construction Organizations' In:, Tzortzopoulos, P. & Kagioglou, M., 16th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Manchester, UK, 16-18 Jul 2008. pp 221-229

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