Modeling the role of team integration and group cohesion in construction project performance

Open Access
Author:
Franz, Bryan
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 30, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Robert Michael Leicht, Dissertation Advisor
  • John Messner, Committee Member
  • David R Riley Ii, Committee Member
  • Gul Kremer, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Project Delivery
  • Collaboration
  • Team Performance
  • Structural Equation Modeling
Abstract:
The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is often criticized for its fragmented approach to project delivery. Traditional procurement and contracting structures serve to isolate designers from contractors, limiting opportunities for collaboration. Viewed as the logical solution to fragmentation, team integration is the process of bring design and construction disciplines back together. Team integration has recently attracted the attention of building owners, made weary by the adversarial relationships common in traditional delivery. However, there is limited empirical evidence linking more integrated teams with improved project performance. This research presents a structural modeling approach to studying the role of team integration in construction project performance. The focus of this research is the project organization, a temporary team of design and construction disciplines that forms for the duration of the project. Project organizations often consist of team members who have never worked together before and will disperse at the completion of the contracted scope. Recognizing the importance of team development in organizations, this research also considers the role of group cohesiveness in delivering a successful project. A sample data set of 204 building projects was used to compare cost, schedule and quality performance under different project organizations. To characterize the types of project organizations seen in industry, a latent class analysis was performed to group projects by their delivery strategy. Path analysis revealed complex relationships between the delivery strategy, team integration, group cohesiveness and project performance. Integrated teams involved all tiers of the project organization, from designers to specialty contractor trades, in high-quality interactions. These interactions were collaborative in nature and included design charrettes, goal setting and multidisciplinary BIM uses. The owner’s project delivery strategy had a significant impact on team integration. Strategies that involved construction managers and specialty contractor trades before schematic design achieved higher levels of integration and were more equipped to control project schedule growth. Cohesive teams reported higher chemistry, goal commitment and timeliness of communication. Project delivery strategies that required cost transparency with open book contracts generally resulted in a more cohesive teams and a lower average project cost growth. Additionally, the owner’s perception of turnover experience and building system quality was consistently rated higher for cohesive teams. Understanding these relationships will make building owners more aware of how early project delivery decisions influence the development of their project teams. Based on their specific goals, owners may select a project delivery strategy that creates the appropriate team environment for the project. The findings of this research are poised to expand methods for studying and implementing project organizations.