Improving performance of construction projects

Lianying Zhang (Department of Construction Management, School of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Weijie Fan (School of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 22 February 2013



As a crucial soft skill, emotional intelligence (EI) is reported to have many benefits, yet it remains largely unexplored in construction project management. The purpose of this paper is to explore further application of project manager's EI to improve project performance.


A questionnaire‐based survey covering 112 project managers in construction is used to determine project managers’ EI, and relate that to the performance of their most recent projects, as well as examine the moderating effects of international involvement and contract type.


Results indicate high expressions of six EI factors in project performance of large and complex scale; whereas the effects of self‐confidence and teamwork have not been confirmed. Additionally, international involvement and contract type are found to moderate the relationships between certain EI factors and project performance.

Practical implications

The paper makes recommendations on selection and appointment of project managers to construction organizations; meanwhile it assists project managers in recognizing the significant competencies that cater for large and complex construction projects.


In this paper, the EI model is modified especially for project managers, to make up for the deficiency of project managers’ EI framework, as well as the project performance criteria for construction projects. Then an analysis takes place of the key EI dimensions or competencies on project performance, which contributes to the body of project managers’ EI.



Zhang, L. and Fan, W. (2013), "Improving performance of construction projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 195-207.

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