Abstract term when used on its ownAbstract term when used on its own


Project Management is a
very extensive term when used on its own and can be a variety of different
aspects of roles including: planning, schedules and budgets, organising, leading,
and controlling activities along with communicating, problem solving, decision
making, and negotiating. It has become an ever increasingly essential, but also
more proficient and skilled discipline within the construction industry in
recent times and is a rapidly growing profession. With numerous complex
characteristics, roles and qualities involved in Project Management this
literature will consider the practical importance of ‘soft skills’ in
construction project managers. The main topic of discussion will entail the
importance of good communication capabilities and how this is essential in
carrying out roles to be a successful project manager. While the literature
outlines the soft skills and communication in a broad context, the focus of
research will be mainly on the importance of a project managers communication skills
in the outcome of successful projects, as eluded to by Steyn (2008) whom specifies how the success and failure of a project
is dependent upon the appointment of a project manager as his/her roles, skills
and qualities are valued as an essential medium in holding a project

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Literature Review  

Importance of Communication as a Soft Skill


A project managers role
is presently extremely demanding and requesting and necessitates a consistently
growing collection of abilities, particularly including “soft” skills of
interpersonal attributes. (Cabanis-Brewin, 2014)

Communication is considered
so vitally important to achieve a successful project that it is stated to as
the backbone or lifeblood of a project by various specialists in the industry. (Zulch, 2014)

The alleged soft skills
also called microsocial skills involve the abilities of people successfully
cooperating effectively with customers, clients, professionals and different
experts. (Hargic, 2007)

Active listening is an
example of an essential attribute to possess adequately in any situation and is
especially relevant for a project manager within the managerial circle of
construction. (Zulch, 2014)

The main function that
coordinates the interdependence and relationship amongst time, cost and scope
in a construction project, in order to accomplish a valued product or project
is communication. (Zulch, 2014)

Therefore, communication
can be viewed as having a cornerstone or foundation function, in light of the
method that it unites the above three areas together in a project. (Zulch, 2014)



In construction project
management context, ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’ skill terms are being applied in a vague
and undetermined means, referring to approaches, projects, programs etc. (10Crawford and Pollack, 2004). Yet,
‘hard’ skills in the project management framework allude to processes,
procedures, tools and techniques, whereas the ‘soft’ skills aptitudes are
alluding to managing human issues for example the ‘people’ part of undertaking
projects. (Azmin et al., 2010)

Whilst ensuring tasks are
delivered on time, the soft skills of communication are as much a portion of a
project managers work and similarly are an ample component of the overall
success as your end product. (Harrin,

As stated previously soft
skills are additionally referred to by means of microsocial skills, and are
generally perceived critically significant to successful project management.
While to date, strategies for estimating those skills are principally
subjective and non-systematic. (Muzio, et
al., 2007)

The importance and sheer
scale of communication that is required for a construction project manager is
evident in that time allocated to communication alone in the profession is in
the region of 70 – 90 percent of their time. This validates the necessity for
attaining and using these skills to be successful and effective.
Correspondingly it is valued stating that most project management books
scarcely talk around these delicate soft skill abilities and unfortunately,
they remain left aside in terms of research and studies. (Kerzner, 2014), (Campbell, 2009), (Laufer, Shapira and Telem, 2008)

In the event that it
appears genuine, that everything rises and falls on communication,
correspondence and leadership, it makes sense that these abilities are a foundational
skill in which are a necessity for a project manager to be operative and
successful. Therefore, the communication capability of a project manager is the
absolute most noteworthy aspect in which influences the achievement of
undertaking a project. (Zulch, 2014)

In comparison to
communication sought to be the utmost significant aspect affecting the success
of a project, leadership abilities are expressively said to be to most
imperative key factored skill to success. (Zulch,

As stated by Clutterbuck and Hirst (2002) “leaders
who do not communicate well are really not leaders at all, it is one thing to
have a position but another to fulfil the role”.

Belzer, in Stevenson and Starkweather (2009) Two critical principles for the effective
accomplishment of a project are leadership and communication. The announcement
by Heldam (2011) affirms the
significance of communication as “the better the project manager communicating,
the smoother the project will go”. (Zulch,

To demonstrate the
importance of communication a project manager should possess the capabilities
of fulfilling two roles mainly. Firstly, as an individual member of the team in
which active listening is a soft skill aptitude that is fundamental to get the
most out of your team to enhance progression and remain successful.
Furthermore, the project manager should act as a correspondence director to
accomplish predetermined goals and objectives, while equally have the capacity
to grasp a level of authority and respect from all gatherings of teams in spite
of the fact that they themselves are a part of that team. (Construction
project management skills, 2001)



To acquire achievement in
the field of project management it requires exceptionally versatile people,
where it is essential to master numerous aptitudes of the profession with the
most prolific skills to possess being communication. (Heldam, 2005) 

This is backed up by Heldam (2005) who describes that “project  managers are a mile wide and an inch deep-
their skills cover a broad range of general management disciplines”. Meaning
that although construction project managers have a comprehensive and adaptable
knowledge across the extensive industry and roles and responsibilities within
their discipline, the knowledge is basic and in some cases undeveloped and
solitary covers areas lightly, but a key skill in which should be obtained for
all is that of communication.

It is widely suggested
across the industry that developers should give additional consideration to the
qualities and characteristics of project managers, with careful attention to
their skills in communication so as to enhance and progress the result of
projects and to further profit the development of the construction industry in
general. (Zulch, 2014)

Furthermore, as research
prevails along with the examination and reviews on different parts of project
management are carried out, the significance of soft skills is increasingly
being acknowledged to the importance of which is should be. (Azmin et al.,

In light of this the
significance of soft skills is being upheld and reinforced by numerous
researchers of late in their study of the project management discipline.       (Alam et al., 2010)  

A key feature to
enlightening your teams ethic and improving quality of work within is by developing
your own soft skills as a project manager. (Harrin,

In that there lies a
balance which must be struck in the correlation between soft and hard skills in
a project manager for success, too much or too little of either will cause
problems and even make or break a projects outcome. (Chileshe and Haupt, 2005)

In addition, (El-Sabaa, 2001) complements that the
human skills of project managers have a more supreme impact on projects
management practises over that of technical skills.

In support of how the appointment
of a project manager influences the outcome of project success, Mabel (2011) states that managers who
lack skills are a “common cause of project failure”. (Zulch, 2014)

Project managers roles
and responsibilities are numerous, however an abundant of vital skills are
required to comprehensively complete these roles. Likewise, these expertness
skills are plentiful with massive emphasis above all other placed on the
ability of a project manager to communicate efficaciously. (Zulch, 2014)


The general synopsis of
this literature was to establish the importance for a construction
project manager to obtain the soft skills of communication and the influences
this has on the outcome of successful projects.

Based on the research
information from several sources, the main topic of discussion has been how
importantly vital communication is for a construction project manager, due to
the mass time spent using communication its relativeness for a manager to
acquire this microsocial skill is evidently essential in the construction
industry at present, with an ever increasingly need for more human skills as
opposed to technical skills to be successful.

It came as no surprise in
which soft skills in the construction industry have been falling by the way side
until of recent times where researchers have developed analysis and findings of
the complete importance and equally shared part soft skills play in project succession.