Assessment of the causes and effects of design deficiencies for large construction projects using social network analysis

Shahab Shoar, Nicholas Chileshe, Shamsi Payan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the latent interrelationships of causes and effects of design deficiencies (DDs) and to identify the most crucial ones by considering the interactions among them. Design/methodology/approach: First, through a comprehensive literature review, the most critical causes of DDs were identified. The review eventuated in a list of 22 causes and 12 effects, which were categorized into six groups. Second, through the rules of system dynamics and the interactions between the causes and effects were modeled and illustrated using causal loop diagrams (CLDs). With the aid of semi-structured interviews with 20 competent experts, the resultant CLDs were also validated. Third, the opinions of 54 experts, who were chosen from the Iranian community of clients and consultants, were solicited concerning the degree of influence which each factor (causes or effects) exerts on others. Finally, the social network analysis (SNA) approach was deployed to analyze and prioritize factors based on the gathered data from experts. Findings: SNA results indicated that factors such as “design firms' staff rework” and “design firms' loss of reputation” are the most central factors affecting DDs. The model results also identified that factors such as “schedule variance”, “workload” and “lack of quality control and supervision during the design phase” have the highest overall impact on DDs. In the end, some recommendations to address major factors and links were also put forward. Overall, more communications between the pair of stakeholder groups and continuous learning from project experiences are believed to be the main strategies. Originality/value: It is believed that this study has provided a comprehensive understanding of causal mechanisms among factors, which can assist project managers of different parties (clients, contractors and consulting firms) in taking more effective actions to ameliorate the quality of design documents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-395
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2022


  • Causal factors
  • Design management
  • Project management
  • Social network analysis
  • Soft systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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