Sources of Conflicts between Key Stakeholders


in a Public Construction Project: A Case Study

of Construction of Research & Academic

Facilities (CRAF) Project



By Wajahat Ullah

Department of Management Sciences
Comsats University, Islamabad, Pakistan


Sources of Conflicts between Key Stakeholders in a Public Construction Project: A Case Study of Construction of Research & Academic Facilities (CRAF) Project. Several studies have been carried on conflicts involving key stakeholders of construction projects in the literature. However, a detailed discussion on conflicts between key stakeholders of public construction projects in the higher education sector of Pakistan is absent from the literature. Therefore, current research has aimed to address this gap by conducting a case study on the Construction of Research & Academic Facilities (CRAF) project. The CRAF project is being implemented by the Government of Pakistan in a Higher Education Institution located in the federal capital Islamabad. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the key stakeholders who were directly involved during the execution phase of the CRAF project. Results of this research are based on the collected data from the key stakeholders. The main findings suggest that the task-focused issues such as defective design, excessive quantity variations, and excessive change orders, etc. are causing conflicts between the key stakeholders of the project. Such conflicts in turn cause schedule delay and cost overruns in the execution of CRAF Project. The study also gathered recommendations from the key stakeholders of the project i.e., project directors, client, consultants, contractors, subcontractors, vendors, etc. for avoiding such conflicts in the future.

Keywords:  construction management, conflict management, construction stakeholders, public construction projects, key stakeholders


The construction industry is an important sector of the Pakistani economy. According to the Economic Survey of 2021, the construction industry of Pakistan accounts for 2.53% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs 7.61% of the employed Pakistani labour force (Finance, 2021). Therefore, it plays an essential role in the socio-economic development of the country. The Construction of Research & Academic Facilities (CRAF) project is conceived through the country’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the improvement of education facilities in a Higher Education Institution (HEI), which requested anonymity for this study.

Construction projects are complex and involve various key players, such as the end-user, client, project team, project manager, consultant, contractor, subcontractors, vendors, etc., throughout their lifecycle to bring the plan into reality. These individuals and groups may or may not have worked together before, and usually possess varying competencies, technical skills, goals, perceptions, objectives, priorities, expectations, and values, which can often lead to conflict among them. These key players or stakeholders are interconnected with each other in a network of professional relationships. Therefore, the actions of one part directly or indirectly affect the interests of other parties in that professional network. Extreme contentions and controversies may result if these various concerns are not examined and appropriately managed, exposing the project to the risk of cost and time overruns (Olander, 2007; Olander & Landin, 2005). In the case of Pakistan, public projects often face cost and schedule overruns and even failures due to conflicts between key stakeholders. The planning and execution of a development project require extensive resources and close cooperation of various stakeholders such as end-users, clients, and contractors. These different connections often lead key stakeholders of the construction projects into conflicts over plans, priorities, technical issues, and even personality. (Hansen-Addy, 2013).

This case study has focused in detail on the types and sources of conflicts, the impact of these conflicts, and the conflict management processes that are being practiced in the context of a public construction project in Pakistan. Additionally, the research also proposes recommendations for improvement of conflict management and propose preventive measures for conflicts. This study may assist project managers in the public sector sphere to manage project conflicts effectively and develop effective conflict management strategies.


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How to cite this paper: Ullah, W. (2023). Sources of Conflicts between Key Stakeholders in a Public Construction Project: A Case Study of Construction of Research & Academic Facilities (CRAF) Project; PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Ullah-Conflicts-between-Key-Stakeholders-in-a-Public-Construction-Project.pdf

About the Author

Wajahat Ullah

Islamabad, Pakistan


Wajahat Ullah is a professional Civil Engineer and Technologist. He has been working in the Private and Public sectors for over 5 years. During his master’s degree program, he had the opportunity to work for a government funded development project. Whilst working on the public project he realized that most public development projects face delays. So, he has focused his research on this particular subject; his areas of interests are the built environment, circular economy and sustainability of public sector projects.

Wajahat holds a MS in Project Management (MSPM) degree from Comsats University in Islamabad and a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering degree from Sarhad University of Science & Technology in Peshawar.  He can be contacted at Wajahatullah2002@gmail.com.