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Analysis of multi-factors affecting the performance of Nigeria's refineries: a systems thinking approach.

Iheukwumere, Obinna; Moore, David; Omotayo, Temitope


Obinna Iheukwumere

David Moore

Temitope Omotayo


The challenges facing the productivity of Nigeria's refineries have generated much academic discourse. This study was carried out to develop a causal loop model showing the interrelationships of the multiple factors driving the poor performance of the refineries. Using a framework of political, economic, social and technical (PEST) factors, the developed model helped identify leverage points for policy intervention in the system. A mixed-method approach was adopted to collect quantitative data from 118 refinery workers and qualitative data from 14 participants polled from the various Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) subsidiaries. The quantitative data were analysed through structural equation modelling (SEM) to prioritise the more significant factors, while the qualitative data were analysed by content analysis to further validate the questionnaire findings and provide clearer contexts for the operationalisation of the factors. The structural equation model identified several PEST factors such as government interference, political indecision, funding issues, spare parts costs, pipeline vandalism, oil theft, maintenance issues as some of the significant factors affecting the performance of the refineries. The interviews validated these findings and provided richer contexts on how these factors operate within system. A causal loop model was developed based on these findings to identify key leverage points upon which policy intervention through best practice, management autonomy and stakeholder satisfaction was proposed to address these challenges. The study uncovers that the factors which affect the performance of the refineries have significant multiple interrelationships, the understanding of which is crucial for developing effective solutions by policymakers. The findings of this study lay important foundations for a deeper understanding of how PEST factors interact to drive suboptimal performance across NNPC refineries. The causal loop model developed in this study provides a new approach to viewing and analysing the associated factors affecting the performance of Nigeria's refineries from a non-linear perspective.


IHEUKWUMERE, O., MOORE, D. and OMOTAYO, T. 2023. Analysis of multi-factors affecting the performance of Nigeria's refineries: a systems thinking approach. International journal of productivity and performance management [online], 72(3), pages 679-709. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 3, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 26, 2021
Publication Date Feb 14, 2023
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 27, 2022
Journal International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Print ISSN 1741-0401
Electronic ISSN 1758-6658
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 72
Issue 3
Pages 679-709
Keywords Systems thinking; Nigerian refineries; Structural equation modelling; Causal loop diagrams; Policies
Public URL


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