Ethical and unethical behaviour of built environment professionals in the Ghanaian construction industry

Ewald Kuoribo, De Graft Owusu-Manu, Roland Yomoah, Caleb Debrah, Alex Acheampong, David John Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The construction industry is an enabler of economic growth in developing countries, but its performance is governed by the professional behaviour of construction professionals. Unethical behaviour (UB) breaches codes of practice and undermines economic performance hence, ubiquitous academic attention has been given to understanding this phenomenon. This paper aims to contribute to the ensuing discourse by reporting upon the most critical ethical behaviours (EBs and UBs) of professionals in the Ghanaian construction industry (GCI). Design/methodology/approach: The study compounded identified factors into a closed-ended questionnaire in a quantitative research strategy. Data analysis was conducted using the relative importance index and one sample t-test. To measure the reliability of the scale, Cronbach’s alpha was used, which indicated that all measured items were reliable for further analysis. Findings: The study confirmed that professionals within the GCI are aware of the existence of UBs and revealed that the most prevalent ethical conducts exhibited, namely, level of accuracy, accountability, honesty, reliability, fairness and respect for colleagues. Common unethical conducts exhibited included: favouritism, bribery and corruption, professional negligence, falsification, fraud and overbilling. Research limitations/implications: The study reported on the dominant ethical conduct among built environment professionals. The claims put forward in the analysis are, thus, affected by Ghana’s social, economic and political environments, which could restrict the generalization of the findings. Practical implications: Incipient findings presented from this research will guide stakeholders to develop and device strategies that will aid alleviate persistent ethical issues within the built environment. Social implications: The study highlights individuals’ perspectives on ethical issues persistent in the built environment. The findings suggest individuals adhere to ethical practices in a project environment by the evidence presented. Originality/value: This pioneering study is a novel assessment on EBs and UBs of built environment professionals in the GCI. The study supplementary adds value to the literature on ethical and unethical practices. By identifying these practices, construction firms have a competitive edge in combating UB and promoting EB among built environment professionals in the GCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-861
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2023


  • Construction industry
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Ethics
  • Ghana
  • Unethical behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Engineering


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