Nigerian Building Professionals’ Ethical Ideology and Perceived Ethical Judgement

John Oko Ameh
Koleola Tunwase Odusami


In recent years, Nigeria is often cited in the international media in connection with corruption and other unethical practices. The professionals in the Nigerian building industry are not immune from the national trend in ethical erosion. Moral philosophy or ethical ideology has been used to explain individuals’ reasoning about moral issues and consequent behaviour. This study examines building industry professionals’ ethical ideologies with a view to understanding their ethical behaviour in professional practice.  In carrying out this investigation, building professionals in clients’ organisations, contracting and consultancy organisations within the industry were asked to respond to the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) designed by Forsyth in order to determine their idealism and relativism level. Subsequently, they were classified into one of four groups, representing different ethical ideologies. The result indicates that the dominant ethical ideology of building industry professionals is situationism. The study predicts that the attitude of building industry professionals in practice, given the current socio-political and economic situation of Nigeria would possibly be unethical because of the extreme influence situational factors have on their behaviour. This finding is a bold step and necessary benchmark for resolving ethical issues within the industry and should be of interest to policy makers. It is also useful for intra professional ethical comparison.

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