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Exploring the missing link between top management team characteristics and megaproject performance

Le Yun (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Jingyuan Wan (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Ge Wang (College of Public Administration, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China)
Ju Bai (China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Beijing, China)
Bing Zhang (Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 29 January 2020

Issue publication date: 4 June 2020




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between the demographic characteristics of top management teams (TMTs) (i.e. age, gender, administrative level, senior management experience and educational background) and megaproject performance, with respect to schedule, cost, quality, safety and technological innovation. The results shed new light on the effectiveness of different types of TMT.


This paper collected secondary and objective data from 208 TMT members in 42 megaprojects and employed hierarchical regression analysis to test the research hypotheses.


The findings revealed that age has a significant influence on schedule performance; gender has a significant influence on safety performance; senior management experience has a significant influence on cost performance; and educational background has a significant influence on both schedule and technological innovation performance. However, this study did not find evidence of a significant relationship between the administrative level and megaproject performance.

Research limitations/implications

This paper mainly focused on China’s megaprojects, most of which are globally influential (e.g. Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge and Shanghai Expo), however this sampling approach still limits the generalizability of research findings to other contexts.


The results of this paper contribute to a better understanding of how management team capabilities translate into better project achievements. This paper also provides implications on the criteria for selecting top megaproject managers to optimize the composition of the TMT and realize better performance.



This research is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Numbers: 71871164, 71971161 and 71901101), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Program Numbers: 2662018QD006 and 31511910514) and the International Exchange Program for Graduate Students of Tongji University (Project Number: 201902059). There is no conflict of interest.


Yun, L., Wan, J., Wang, G., Bai, J. and Zhang, B. (2020), "Exploring the missing link between top management team characteristics and megaproject performance", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 1039-1064.



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