Project managers adjust their leadership: to workspace and project type

Anne Live Vaagaasar (Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Ralf Müller (Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Donatella De Paoli (Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Publication date: 3 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the triadic relationship between project workspace (i.e. spatial context), project type and project manager’s leadership style. It develops the concept of leadership construct (i.e. mental models of leadership to predispose the way leadership is performed) to explain related preferences for workspace and behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

A combination of phenomenological inquiry on preferred workspaces in different project types is combined with a conceptual study on related leadership styles in these settings.

Findings

Four different leadership constructs are identified, which are conditioned by workspace and project type: one-on-one, virtual, interactive and mixed leadership. Also, four leadership patterns are identified, and these are related to open office and virtual office settings in product, service, software development and infrastructure construction projects.

Research limitations/implications

The results show the interaction of workspace, project type and leadership styles, which extends existing leadership theory and provides more granularity in determining appropriate leadership styles for project managers.

Practical implications

Practitioners benefit from a more conscious selection of appropriate leadership styles, which positively impacts project results.

Originality/value

By linking workspace, project type and leadership styles, the study is the first of its kind and a novel contribution to theory in project leadership.

Keywords

Citation

Vaagaasar, A.L., Müller, R. and De Paoli, D. (2019), "Project managers adjust their leadership: to workspace and project type", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 256-276. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-05-2018-0098

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

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