Critical issues and possible solutions for motivating foreign construction workers

Seung H. Han, Sang H. Park, Eui J. Jin, Hyoungkwan Kim, Yeon K. Seong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


A shortage of construction field workers has been a serious and chronic problem, both in developed and developing countries. As a solution to the increasing demands of the workforce, use of foreign workers has been a common practice for a country to gain laborers from nearby less-developed countries. While it can contribute to lessening the labor deficiency, foreign workers are typically less productive and often encompass diverse risks due to cultural differences, communication difficulties, and different work ethics and customs. Despite these facts, construction films do not address these issues and lag in establishing appropriate management strategies to improve the performance of foreign workers. This paper investigates key issues with respect to foreign laborers through a series of focused interviews and field surveys. Then, it draws the primary causes of low performance and presents effective general guidelines for improving foreign workers' performance. The writers also provide an analysis of case studies in South Korea for motivating foreign workers in connection with the proposed practical guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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