Critical Soft Factors for Optimum Performance of Maintenance Operations
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Engineering, Project, and Production Management. 2019, 9 (2), 107-114.
Abstract: Over the past three decades, an increasing trend has been observed in research related to the consideration of human factors instead of solely based on the traditional aspects of project and operations management. However, much of the research done to date on human aspects has been conducted in developed countries in Europe, America and Australia, leaving developing countries, especially those in Africa, deprived of similar research. The purpose of the paper is to bridge this gap in knowledge by comparing the soft factors in the two contexts in order to provide an understanding of whether they have the same level of importance, regardless of their differences in economic, social and environmental aspects. The authors used semi-structured interviews to identify the critical soft factors for optimum performance of maintenance operations at a natural gas processing plant in Tanzania. The uncovered soft factors included top management engagement and oversight, trainings, ergonomics, collaboration, safety and security, recognition programs, and education and career growth. There was a high degree of conformity between the soft factors uncovered in the Tanzanian context and those in other African countries and other developing countries around the world. However, there was also conformity between the soft factors uncovered in developing and developed countries, which only differed in the level of the emphasis they placed on implementation.