Identification of the "Pathogenic" Effects of Disruptions to Supply Chain Resilience in Construction

Nurul Afroze Zainal Abidin, Bingunath Ingirige

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In today's interconnected world, disruptions arising from one party in a supply chain network could cause disruptions to other parties in the chain. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that supply chain disruptions had caused a wide-scale impact to the construction industry in various developing countries including the Malaysian construction industry, with increasing report on project performance deficiencies such as cost and time overruns of severe magnitudes. Although risk management is widely practiced in construction, the challenge now is to make systems and construction supply chains sufficiently resilient so that the project organisations can bounce back and thrive from catastrophes and disruptive events. Past studies of supply chain resilience however tend to overlook the underlying latent conditions that reside in the system that made an organisation vulnerable to such disruptions in the first place. The "pathogen" metaphor is used in this study to reflect these inherent hidden vulnerabilities that remain dormant in a system until a critical failure occurs. Although these pathogens are hidden and may not be causing any problem at the moment, they might trigger a later onset problem causing cascading impacts to the supply chain and its operations. While disruptions in construction are often difficult to foresee and is hard to eliminate entirely, these pathogens, however, can be identified and mitigated before a disruptive event occurs, which this paper aims to discuss. This paper therefore presents the identification of key pathogenic effects in the Malaysian construction industry through preliminary interviews with four experts in the field. Overall, the identification of the pathogens in the study will help the researcher to assess how vulnerable the project organisations are to making significant errors in a systematic way, thus providing the foundation to build appropriate strategies for their prevention and build the resilience of the construction supply chain to disruptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2018
Event7th International Conference on Building Resilience: Using Scientific Knowledge to Inform Policy and Practice in Disaster Risk Reduction - Swissotel Le Concorde, Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 27 Nov 201729 Nov 2017
Conference number: 7 (Link to Conference Website)


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