Tension between Leadership Archetypes: Systematic Review to Inform Construction Research and Practice

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Management in Engineering, 2020, 36 (1)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2019 American Society of Civil Engineers. In the literature on construction projects, the role of project managers in maintaining control over tasks and activities has been theorized comprehensively, placing a firm focus on vertical forms of leadership. Increasingly, construction firms are challenged with unprecedented operational uncertainty brought about by changes to project environments, technology, and labor. Similar challenges in other contexts have led to growing research on shared or horizontal approaches to leadership, which have been particularly effective in making organizations more agile in uncertain environments. Through a systematic review of 290 peer-reviewed articles on leadership in construction, this paper considers the extent to which traditional vertical approaches to leadership are supplemented with horizontal and emerging balanced approaches to leadership across six bodies of construction leadership research. It contends that despite evidence for the increasing implementation of horizontal leadership practices on construction projects, vertical leadership theory dominates construction leadership research. In comparison, there is a dearth of research addressing horizontal leadership and scarce consideration of balanced leadership. Based on the review, stronger integration of the balanced leadership archetype in research on leadership in construction is proposed as a logical means of advancing leadership theory in relation to six research vectors.
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