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Taking leadership research into future: A review of empirical studies and new directions for research

Shamas‐ur‐Rehman Toor (Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
George Ofori (Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 4 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Researchers have traditionally focused on the technical and managerial features of construction projects and have tended to ignore the subject of leadership. However, recent interest in the subject has resulted in global research initiatives that aspire to provide an understanding of leadership in a holistic manner. To further the research on the subject, it is important to review the existing body of knowledge and draft a road map for the future. For this purpose, a review of empirical works on leadership in the construction industry was carried out.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 49 studies were selected through a rigorous process. To summarize the findings, coding was done according to publication outlet, authors, nature of study, country of publication, target population, methodology, and key findings.

Findings

It was found that most of the empirical studies have focused on behavioral dimensions of leadership while paying less attention to several other important dimensions, particularly leadership development. Most studies were cross‐sectional in nature and used quantitative methods of analysis. It was also noted that these studies focused on a limited range theories presented in the mainstream.

Originality/value

The review presented here summarizes the empirical research on leadership in the construction industry. The paper details various past trends, predicts some future trends, and suggests certain areas in which future research on leadership in the construction industry could focus.

Research limitations/implications

It is suggested that leadership studies need to be improved in terms of methodological approach, level of analysis, developmental perspective of leadership, and objective measurement of leadership outcomes.

Originality/value

The paper predicts some future trends and suggests certain areas in which future research on leadership in the construction industry could focus.

Keywords

Citation

Toor, S. and Ofori, G. (2008), "Taking leadership research into future: A review of empirical studies and new directions for research", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 352-371. https://doi.org/10.1108/09699980810886856

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited