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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao and Jian Zuo

The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects of inter-organizational conflicts on the project added value in the Chinese construction industry, and also to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects of inter-organizational conflicts on the project added value in the Chinese construction industry, and also to examine the mediating effect of conflicts on project added value and the moderating effect of conflict management strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model was developed, and a structured questionnaire survey was conducted with 667 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was used to analyze the data.

Findings

The results showed that task conflict, relationship conflict and process conflict were influenced by subject characteristics of project participants, bilateral relationship characteristics and project characteristics. Similarly, these three types of conflicts interact with each other. Meanwhile, these three types of conflicts influence the added value in construction projects, which are moderated by conflict management strategies. Under a collaborating strategy, task conflict and process conflict were positively associated with project added value, and relationship conflict was negatively associated with project added value. Under a competing strategy, task conflict, process conflict and relationship conflict were negatively associated with added value in construction projects. Therefore, the constructive and destructive effects of conflicts on project added value under different conflict management strategies are verified in Chinese construction projects.

Research limitations/implications

The variables may not be exhaustive for construction projects and most of them were applied in construction projects for the first time. As a result, their rationality and effectiveness could be further improved. The results implied that inter-organizational conflicts had a constructive effect on project added value and should attract broad attention for future research. Additionally, different driving factors had different influences on these conflicts, and even the driving factors can be divided into different dimensions.

Practical implications

This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between inter-organizational conflicts and added value in construction projects, and a reliable reference for the project manager to effectively deal with these conflicts. In addition, this research reveals the effects of conflicts on project added value and the path of conflicts transformation. This provides a useful reference for project managers to take advantage of the positive effect of task conflict and process conflict, and to avoid the negative effect of relationship conflict.

Originality/value

Very few studies attempted to examine the effects of inter-organizational conflicts on project added value in construction projects. Therefore, this research makes significant theoretical and practical contributions to the existing body of knowledge on the conflict management and project added value. This research provides an empirical evidence to support the viewpoint that different types of conflicts can be mutually transformed. Similarly, this study explains how conflicts present functional and dysfunctional effects in construction projects. Both of them are potential theoretical contributions to the existing body of knowledge.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2020

Guangdong Wu, Huiwen Li, Chunlin Wu and Zhibin Hu

This study aims to investigate the relationships between the different strengths of ties (strong ties and weak ties), types of trust and project performance in megaprojects.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the relationships between the different strengths of ties (strong ties and weak ties), types of trust and project performance in megaprojects.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was conducted with various experts and professionals involved in megaprojects, and 350 valid responses were received. Data was analyzed by means of structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results show that both strong ties and weak ties have positive impacts on trust in megaprojects, but weak ties have a more significant positive effect than do strong ties. Unexpectedly, the introduction of interorganizational trust significantly weakens the effect of the strength of ties on project performance. The indirect influence of the strength of ties on performance has different paths. Weak ties have an indirect effect via calculative trust and relational trust. However, in a strong ties network, inferior stakeholders lack the information necessary to complete a megaproject, and they believe that calculative trust will not promote project performance until the megaproject is successfully delivered. Thus, the effect of calculative trust on project performance is not significant.

Research limitations/implications

These findings provide evidence in regard to strength of ties governance being a part of the effective strategy in improving megaprojects’ performance. It also demonstrates the mediating function of trust and advances the current understandings of the underlying mechanism of the strength of ties on project performance, thus providing implications for researchers and practitioners. However, this study has some limitations. For example, the strength of ties and trust between organizations are a dynamic process in megaprojects. This study does not conduct in-depth analysis of the evolution mechanism and investigate the different levels of trust at different stages of the megaproject. Future research can be guided by these directions.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this study is fourfold. First, this study enriches the literature on strength of ties by accentuating the roles of trust in megaproject context. Second, this study contributes to the theoretical development of a conceptual model for explaining the interrelationships among strength of ties, types of trust and project performance. Third, this study responds to the call “which dimension (i.e. strong ties or weak ties) is more influential” by exploring the direct and indirect effects of strength of ties on project performance. Finally, this study breaks through the limitation of traditional cognition that megaproject management can be met by relying on rigid contracts. In other words, trust can supplement the weakness of rigid contract by forming contract flexibility with different strength of ties. Meanwhile, the specific strategies to establish and maintain trust are given, such as building information model (BIM) collaboration platform and reputation management mechanism.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2019

Guangdong Wu, Zhibin Hu, Junwei Zheng, Xianbo Zhao and Jian Zuo

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between structure characteristics of project network, types of conflicts and project success.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between structure characteristics of project network, types of conflicts and project success.

Design/methodology/approach

Network density and centrality were used to reflect the structure characteristics of project network. This study collected 254 valid responses from construction professionals (including project managers, department managers and project engineers) via a questionnaire survey and analyzed the data using structural equation modeling and bootstrapping techniques.

Findings

The results showed that network centrality of project stakeholders negatively affected project success, whereas the effect of network density on project success was non-significant. The network density was positively related to task conflict, whereas negatively related to process and relationship conflict. Network centrality was positively related to relationship conflict and had negative effects on task and process conflict. Project conflicts served as the mediator, weakening the relationship between network structure characteristics and project success.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides direction for project managers and other stakeholders (e.g. owners, contractors and subcontractors) to appropriately establish social ties and manage conflicts to achieve project success. However, the potential influence of conflict transformation on project success, the dynamic nature of project networks and the network diagram were not addressed in the context of diverse culture. The future research should cover different stakeholders in order to get an integrative understanding of project networks and collect data from different cultural and industrial characteristics, extending and verifying the results.

Originality/value

The outcomes of the study provide evidence in regard to social network ties governance, which is comprised by the important or representative stakeholders, being a part of the effective strategy in improving project success. This study also contributes to the knowledge of conflict management in the project context, revealing the positive and negative of project conflicts and enriching the current understandings of the underlying mechanism of the project network characteristics on project success.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 28 February 2019

Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao, Jian Zuo and George Zillante

The purpose of this paper is fourfold: first, to investigate the effect of team diversity on different types of conflicts; second, to determine if team diversity is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is fourfold: first, to investigate the effect of team diversity on different types of conflicts; second, to determine if team diversity is significantly correlated with project performance; third, to investigate the mediating effect of project conflicts on the relationship between team diversity and project performance and fourth, to examine the relationship between different types of conflicts and project performance in construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model was developed and a questionnaire survey was conducted with 246 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was applied to analyze the data.

Findings

The results showed that: team diversity was positively associated with project performance; the introduction of conflicts significantly weakened the effect of diversity on performance; conflicts have both constructive and destructive effects on project performance; and team diversity affected project performance through the mediating effects of task conflict and relationship conflict, thus adding both positive and negative effects on performance.

Research limitations/implications

There are other factors which may affect conflicts and project performance such as communication, trust and contract. Future research could be conducted to determine the role of these variables in determining the effects of team diversity on performance.

Practical implications

It is necessary to reduce the relationship conflict whereas maintaining a “healthy” level of task conflict. In light of this, the conclusions of this study highlight practical implications as follows: project teams should attach importance to diverse partner selection and select cooperative partners whose value orientations are similar; when implementing a construction project, the structure of diverse project teams should keep relatively stable, avoiding too many teams entering or exiting the project in a short period; project teams should make greater efforts to deal with destructive conflicts via relational governance such as trust and communication.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature in three areas. First, this study investigated the dynamic mechanism between team diversity, conflicts and performance in construction projects. Second, this study contributes to the body of knowledge on validating the mediating effects of conflicts on the relationship between team diversity and performance. Third, this study validated the positive and negative effects of team diversity on performance with different types of conflicts as mediation variables in construction projects.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2021

Lan Luo, Limao Zhang, Xian Zheng and Guangdong Wu

This paper proposes a novel hybrid simulation approach that incorporates the structural equation model (SEM) and system dynamics (SD) to investigate the impacts of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper proposes a novel hybrid simulation approach that incorporates the structural equation model (SEM) and system dynamics (SD) to investigate the impacts of leadership dynamics on project performance under different scenarios.

Design/methodology/approach

SEM is used to identify and validate a correlation between leadership variables and project performance statically. On this basis, the SD model is constructed to depict a system model connecting the leadership and project performance. Different scenarios are simulated to dynamically model the variation in leadership on the evolution of project performance.

Findings

Results indicate that (1) leadership can be divided into personal ability, relationship atmosphere and organizational strategy in complex construction projects; (2) personal ability, relationship atmosphere and organizational strategy positively correlate with project performance over time; and (3) L1 (stress management ability), L7 (team building) and L17 (institution support) are the leading factors influencing project performance and should be paid more attention under limited resources.

Originality/value

This research contributes to (1) the state of the knowledge by proposing a hybrid methodology that can systematically model the impacts of leadership dynamics on project performance over time and (2) the state of the practice by gaining a better understanding of the strategy of resource distribution for enhancing project performance in complex construction projects.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2021

Zhibin Hu, Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao, Jian Zuo and Shicong Wen

This study aims to explore the influence of the strength of ties (strong ties and weak ties) on contractual flexibility (term flexibility and process flexibility) and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the influence of the strength of ties (strong ties and weak ties) on contractual flexibility (term flexibility and process flexibility) and relationship quality among stakeholders in a megaproject network.

Design/methodology/approach

This study, via a questionnaire survey, collected 380 valid responses from megaproject professionals (including project managers, department managers and project engineers). The data were analyzed using least squares structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results show that both strong ties and weak ties have positive effects on relationship quality. The introduction of contractual flexibility can help improve relationship quality by combining the positive effects of the strength of ties. Interestingly, the indirect influence of strong ties on relationship quality is mainly due to term flexibility. However, the influence of process flexibility is not significant, while weak ties have an indirect influence through term flexibility and process flexibility.

Research limitations/implications

This study, while helpful to megaproject management both in theory and practice, is nevertheless subject to several limitations. First, this study only considers the impact of the strength of ties on contractual flexibility and relationship quality; other factors, such as environmental uncertainty, are not explored. Second, the sample data are limited to just a few regions of China. Future research should cover other influencing factors, in order to make the model more substantial; data should also be collected from different cultural and industrial sources, thereby extending and further verifying the results.

Originality/value

This study makes three contributions to extant megaproject literature. First, this study provides a deep and nuanced understanding of the strength of ties. With the distinction between strong ties and weak ties clearly explained, this research furnishes a subtler understanding of relationship governance than has previously been achieved. Second, by precisely identifying the mechanism of how contract flexibility improves contract control and coordination functions, this research offers a complementary view of how contractual flexibility positively contributes to cooperation and relationship quality. Third, this study identifies which dimension of the strength of ties is more influential. This brings a new explanation for the previous controversy and offers some insight into the determinants of how to improve relationship quality in Chinese megaprojects.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Article
Publication date: 26 March 2020

Guangdong Wu, Junwei Zheng, Xianbo Zhao and Jian Zuo

This study aims to investigate how the strength of ties (i.e. strong ties and weak ties) in megaproject networks influences project performance in terms of types of conflicts.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how the strength of ties (i.e. strong ties and weak ties) in megaproject networks influences project performance in terms of types of conflicts.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was undertaken with professionals in Chinese megaprojects and 445 valid responses were received. A conflict-based theoretical model was developed and tested with structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results indicated that task conflict had a constructive effect on project performance, whereas relationship conflict and process conflict had destructive effects. Both strong and weak ties positively affected project performance, and that weak ties exerted greater effects on performance. The introduction of conflicts significantly weakened the effect of strong ties on project performance. Strong ties indirectly affected project performance via task conflict and relationship conflict, whereas weak ties affected performance only through task conflict. Task conflict had a constructive effect on project performance, whereas relationship conflict and process conflict had destructive impact.

Research limitations/implications

This study identified the positive effect of strength of ties on project performance as well as the constructive and destructive roles of conflicts. Furthermore, the findings provided evidence that strength of ties and conflicts were critical factors for project performance. While, there are still limitations. There are other attributes of megaproject networks, such as network nodes’ characteristics and network structure, which may influence conflicts and project performance. Future research would be conducted to explore the role of these variables. Meanwhile, because different types of conflicts may mutually transform under certain conditions, future research would also address this issue in megaprojects.

Practical implications

As for the management strategies, project stakeholders should know the existence of project networks, exactly assess their resource endowment, especially their external and internal relationship network. In accordance with changes of the project network, stakeholders should share knowledge and learn techniques about how to respond to relationship disturbances, thus reducing relationship conflict and process conflict. Furthermore, stakeholders should place an emphasis on fostering and reinforcing communication and trust, thus effectively resolving task conflict, ambiguity and uncertainty engendered from network ties in a megaproject network.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this study is threefold. First, this study will enrich the literature on strength of ties by accentuating the roles of conflicts in megaproject context. Second, this study contributes to the theoretical development of a conceptual model for explaining the interrelationships among strength of ties, conflicts and project performance. Third, this study will respond to the call “which dimension, i.e. strong ties or weak ties, is more influential” by exploring the direct and indirect effects of strength of ties on project performance.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 December 2017

Guangdong Wu, Xianbo Zhao, Jian Zuo and George Zillante

This study aims to investigate the influence of contractual flexibility on different types of conflict, determine if contractual flexibility is significantly correlated…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the influence of contractual flexibility on different types of conflict, determine if contractual flexibility is significantly correlated with project success between contracting parties, verify the mediating effect of project conflicts on the relationship between contractual flexibility and project success and examine the relationship between different types of conflicts and project success in megaprojects.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model was developed and a structured questionnaire survey was conducted with 468 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was used to analyze the data.

Findings

The results showed that both types of contractual flexibility – term and process flexibility – were correlated with and significantly positively affected project success, and term flexibility was found to have a greater influence. The introduction of project conflicts significantly weakened the relationship between contractual flexibility and project success, verifying the partial mediating effect of conflicts. All types of project conflicts play a destructive role in achieving project success; relationship conflict had the largest negative effect. Contractual flexibility affects two paths with respect to project success: the direct path (contractual flexibility → project success) and the indirect path (contractual flexibility → conflict → project success). The direct effect of contractual flexibility on project success is positive; the corresponding indirect effect is negative. The direct effect is greater than the corresponding indirect effect.

Research limitations/implications

Different types of conflicts may mutually transform to extent certain degree. However, this study did not address the potential influence of conflict transformation on project success. The results implied that more emphasis should be placed on contractual terms, particularly on developing flexible terms in the contractual document, when implementing megaprojects. Meanwhile, this study reveals the effects of conflicts on project success in megaprojects, which provides a useful reference for project stakeholders to avoid the negative effect of conflicts.

Practical implications

This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between contractual flexibility, types of conflicts in megaprojects and a reliable reference for the project manager to effectively deal with these related issues. This implies the contracting parties strengthen communication and cooperation to establish a trust mechanism, while reducing the negative influence of project conflicts and enhancing the positive effect of contractual flexibility.

Originality/value

Few studies have investigated the effects of contractual flexibility on conflict and project success in megaprojects; this study contributes significant theoretical and practical insights to contract management and conflict management and provides a reliable reference to achieve project success.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 29 March 2019

Junwei Zheng, Guangdong Wu, Hongtao Xie and Hongyang Li

The purpose of this paper is to examine the joint congruence effect of leadership styles and organizational culture on project members’ innovative behaviors in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the joint congruence effect of leadership styles and organizational culture on project members’ innovative behaviors in the construction projects setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed hypotheses are tested using polynomial regression with a sample of 217 project managers and employees of different construction projects in China, and plotted through response surface analysis.

Findings

The results of polynomial regressions support the congruence effect hypothesis, indicating that more innovative behaviors of the project members could be elicited by a high level of congruence between transformational or transactional leadership styles and organizational culture. Furthermore, asymmetrical incongruence effects are found wherein project members with lower levels of innovative behaviors when project organizational culture is stronger as compared with when two leadership styles are at higher levels. Specifically, the condition is found under the innovation dimension of organization culture, but higher level of innovative behavior conversely displays when the harmony culture is weaker than two leadership styles.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual model and hypotheses are examined by analyzing cross-sectional and self-reported data collected in China. The findings could be further examined through multi-source or longitudinal, more systematic research.

Practical implications

The findings highlight the pivotal role played by the value congruence of leaders-organizations in motivating employees to be innovative in project organizations. This paper provides knowledge for project managers to help them understand whether and how project members’ innovative behaviors are better motivated by the fit or misfit between the styles of leadership and project organizational cultures. Besides, this study provides the approach or direction for the project leaders training.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to examine the joint effects of leadership styles and organizational culture on innovative behavior based on the person-organization fit theory and from the perspective of value congruence.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2019

Long Li, Zhongfu Li, Xiaodan Li and Guangdong Wu

The purpose of this paper is to provide comprehensive analysis and understanding of lean construction (LC) and to help researchers to find new gaps and research…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide comprehensive analysis and understanding of lean construction (LC) and to help researchers to find new gaps and research opportunities and develop potential collaboration chances.

Design/methodology/approach

The bibliographic data were obtained in peer-reviewed journals. The science mapping analysis and social network analysis (SNA) were used to conduct the analysis and visualization. Science mapping was performed to identify the research topics, evolution and the relationships between these topics. Also, the most influential LC-related articles in each topic were identified based on the concept of H-classics. SNA was also used to explore the collaboration status of authors and to identify the core authors in the LC field.

Findings

The results showed that topics in the LC field are consistently and continuously changing, which also reveals the fact that the lean concept system has evolved over time to a certain extent. The topics that could form the knowledge base of the LC research field in the future are related to two thematic areas: supply chain management (SCM) and planning and scheduling. SCM focuses on developing a system where supplier and client work together in coordination to deliver materials, works, equipment and labor and other resources. Moreover, prefabrication is a new hot topic, while BIM is a well-developed and isolated topic in the last five years. This result indicates that more studies need to be conducted in the future, to promote the integration of BIM and lean practices in the construction phase, as well as to explore the value of BIM in the reduction or elimination of waste and lean project delivery. As for global collaborations, LC research has been widely pursued throughout the world. The USA and the UK play the most dominant role in the international collaboration network.

Research limitations/implications

Since the analysis of data takes some time, the specific results of this paper are limited to articles published in peer-reviewed journals, which leads to a certain degree of research lag.

Practical implications

This paper provides insights (such as major journals, institutions, key scholars, the evolution of topics, highly indexed articles and the new LC trends in the last five years) for researchers in the LC field.

Originality/value

This paper gives a general review of the above-mentioned literature, including the number of LC-related articles published in each year, as well as the major journals and main contributors to the field of LC.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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