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From local to the whole: understanding construction projects as multiteam systems

Jianyao Jia (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Yang Li (Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Xueqing Gan (Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Guofeng Ma (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 14 November 2022

Issue publication date: 14 March 2023




In today's digital and post-pandemic era, construction teams can span their boundary to obtain important resources and support in computer-mediated ways. However, the benefits of computer-mediated team boundary spanning (TBS) are mostly assumed. Empirical evidence for these benefits is in lack. Thus, this study attempts to investigate the influence of computer-mediated (instant messaging in this study) TBS on construction project performance and the underlying mechanism.


From the multiteam system (MTS) perspective, this study employs the input-process-outcome (IPO) framework and coordination theory to explore the influence of instant messaging-based team boundary spanning (IMTBS) on construction project coordination processes and project performance. A theoretical model is built and validated with a survey involving 206 construction projects.


Results show that IMTBS positively affects knowledge integration and project coordination, but negatively affects project commitment. The positive link between IMTBS and project performance is attributable to knowledge integration and project coordination. Further, project commitment is also found to negatively mediate the relationship between IMTBS and construction project performance.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to empirically investigate the influence of TBS on construction project performance. As such, this study contributes to the literature on TBS in the construction field. In addition, the findings of this study unveil the double-edged characteristic of IMTBS, which should attract managers' attention. This also indicates that the form of TBS is a significant determinant of its effectiveness, which should attract scholars' attention in the future.



This work was supported in part by the China Scholarship Council under Grant 202106260231 and the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 72171177.


Jia, J., Li, Y., Gan, X. and Ma, G. (2023), "From local to the whole: understanding construction projects as multiteam systems", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 355-373.



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