Leadership construction industry, and specifically the building sector of

Leadership competence of sustainable construction project


Background and Literature Review:

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the past decade, international and local communities realised the importance of
a sustainable construction industry, and specifically the building sector of
the construction industry. it is believed to be beneficial for encouraging
societal change towards sustainable construction in a global context. In this
regard, project managers and construction leaders of sustainable projects are
convinced to transform the subordinates and influence them to achieve better
sustainable performance.

This study is an extension of the
previous study done about the leadership competencies
and transformational qualities as hierarchal, reflective construct,
incorporating ten related components used for the assessment of leadership
behaviour in a sustainable project. The model is used to observe a direct
impact of project managers/leaders on the success criteria for sustainable
buildings. Generally, this study encompasses some of the important components of
leadership assessment in the context of construction project managers in
sustainable building projects. This study has generated a new model to
facilitate the process of sustainability in the construction industry.

With the advancement of
technologies and standardization in architecture, engineering, construction and
operation industries, the idea of sustainable development is getting more and
more important day by day. Leadership plays a key role in maintaining sustainability
in a construction project. This study was chosen because it provides a good
analysis of how leadership competencies
of project managers are related to the
success criteria of organizations in the development of sustainable construction projects. As a student of project
management, this study renders useful insights about how leadership can affect
the sustainability of construction projects.


The researchers have reviewed a
study carried out about “Leadership Behaviour of Project Managers in Sustainable
Construction Projects” was carried out by Amin
Akhavan Tabassi, Maria Argyropoulou, Kamand M. Roufechaei, Rachel Argyropoulou
in October 2016. In this study, the
impact of managerial competence and
intellectual competence on project managers were
studied. Eight major components from intellectual and managerial competence
were studied, and the outcomes suggest that the intellectual competence of
project managers represents the most considerable factor on sustainable
building accomplishments


It can be said undoubtedly that
sustainability achieved in the construction industry is not adequate, and developing
countries like Malaysia have just begun to meet the challenge of sustainable
development in the construction industry. A research on sustainable project
development and leadership behaviour in the construction industry will have a
positive influence on the development of the project and drive forward a future
for better performance in the building industry in countries like Malaysia.
Most of the research done in the construction industry is done on the design
concepts for sustainability and therefore not enough research has been done in
leadership skills of the leaders in the sustainable
development of construction projects. This research has been done to build a
model to study the most effective leadership competence in sustainable building
construction to answer the question below:

Does the Leadership style of leaders Influence the success criteria for
green building projects?

 Relation between sustainable
construction and Leadership

            Although leadership has been outlined as a
success factor for the effective performance of an organization, there is still
limited research on the relationship between leadership behaviour of project
managers and especially managers in the construction industry. These leaders
should have the skills set to endorse a positive culture towards sustainable
development. In a recent study (Hwang and Ng 2013) explored the challenges in green construction projects and
they identified in the study the knowledge areas and the skills that a project manager
should have to meet the challenges of sustainable development. However,
leadership style and competencies of sustainable project managers need to be
further explored for their statistical relationship with project success


Leadership competencies and success criteria for sustainable Building

Malaysian Institute of Architects formed a Sustainability Committee which was created
primarily to develop the Green Building Index (GBI) and the corresponding
section for authorisation and certification of green-rated buildings in August
2008. The GBI Building rating tools assess the sustainability of buildings
based on six main criteria as demonstrated in Fig 1 below. Consequently, these
specific set of guidelines were employed to measure the success criteria that
project managers attained in their green building projects.


Figure 1: Key criteria for evaluating success sustainable building
construction used for this study

The above criteria may motivate
developers and building users to consider the environmental quality of
buildings and associated residents by improving site selection, access to
public transport, improving community services and improving the quality of





Hypothesis Tested

               Leaders in the
organization tend to be the key driving
force to endorse sustainability in the industry. Therefore, in view of the
analysis, the current study targets to explore the impact of intellectual and
managerial capabilities of the leader on the success of a sustainable building
project. Therefore:

Hypothesis 1: Leader intellectual competence is positively related to
the success criteria of the projects.

Hypothesis 2: Leader managerial competence is positively related to the
success criteria of the projects.

The application of
transformational leadership in sustainable societies is a critical area for
professionals and researchers to come up with the local and global changes
needed for sustainable growth.

Hypothesis 3: The transformational leadership behaviour of the project
manager is positively related to the success criteria of the projects.

This study assessed the
leadership behaviour and effectiveness of the transformational leadership of
project leaders in sustainable construction projects based on work of Dulewicz
and Higgs (2005) and Daft and Pirola-Merlo (2009).



         Figure 2: Ten leadership competencies
and qualities assessed by the research










participants include 70 project managers from those projects which were
certified by the GBI assessment of Malaysia. Three research officers were sent
to companies in various locations in major cities in Malaysia such as Kuala
Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru to hand over the questionnaires to the relevant
respondents and to collect them for data analysis. Out of all the managers, 65.7 percent were male and 34.3 %
were women. The percentage of different races were, Malay 28.6%, Chinese 64.3%,
Indian 4.3% and other races 2.9%. Additionally, on the experience level of project managers,
20% has 1 to 5 years of experience, 15.7% has 6 to 10 years of experience, and
64.3% had more than 11 years of experience in the field.  Regarding the level
of education, 88.6% had a bachelors
degree or higher and 11.4 percent had attained
a diploma from junior college. 

For this study, the sample size is 70 project managers which were chosen
from the GBI certified project managers in Malaysia. The sample is representative,
of the study population which are the project managers of sustainable
construction projects.

Data Collection

For data
collection, a survey of questionnaires was distributed among the construction
project managers in sustainable building projects. The questionnaires were essentially
based on the Scale of five measures from one (1) to five (5) depending on the
level of importance.

The researchers have not
justified their choice of data collection tool in the study. There is no
evidence found of a pilot study in this study, though the researchers have
extended a previously done study on “leadership competence in sustainable
construction projects” during this study.

In my opinion, one of the weaknesses
of the data collection method is that the results of the study cannot be
generalized. The study was only carried out within the sustainable building
projects in Malaysia in a specific context.

The strength of the study data
collection is that it provides numerical and descriptive data which can be
analysed to understand the effect of
leadership capabilities and transformational leadership qualities on the
development of sustainable construction projects.


Data Analysis

The study applies partial least
square (PLS) method to evaluate the hierarchal hypothetical model in
sustainable building projects.  To assess
the hypothesised model, Smart PLS was applied to determine the parameters of
the model. Afterwards, nonparametric bootstrapping was applied with 200
replications to obtain the standard estimate errors.

The results are presented
quantitively in terms of tables and diagrams. The study results are easy to
interpret, and they are explained in the next section of this report.







Managerial Competence

               In the study, the prior research done has been
extended by conceptualising the managerial competence as a hierarchical and thoughtful
construct, and its relationship with the success criteria of project managers
in their sustainable projects. The aim was to discover how the five managerial
competence factors identified by Dulewicz and Higgs (2005) affect the criteria
for the success of a sustainable project. These factors include resource
management, engaging communication, empowering, developing and achieving.
Although each of the factor identified in managerial competence shows a
different belief, the whole constitutes a solid basis for the modelling of the
hierarchical managerial competence in a nomological network. The degree of
explained variance in this hierarchal construct was reflected in its components:
resource management (76.9%), engaging communication (88.3%), empowering
(19.7%), developing (82.2%) and achieving (83%). All the coefficients of
progression of the managerial competence to its components were significant at
P<0.01. Here, for the construction of the managerial skill, CR (composite reliability) and AVE (mean-variance extracted) values ??were 0.941 and 0.536, respectively, which are greater than the threshold values. The Fig below shows results achieved from the study.   Figure 3: 2nd Order Managerial Competence relationship with the 1st Order Components Intellectual competence assessment                Similarly, the study extends intellectual competence as a hierarchical and thoughtful concept and assesses its relation to the criteria of success of the sustainable project. Intellectual competence was also assessed using three attributes identified by Dulewicz and Higgs (2005). These three factors include critical analysis, strategic foresight, vision and imagination, which positively influence the success criteria of a sustainable project. Each factor of intellectual competence also reflects a unique insight, while the specified components provide a solid basis for modelling hierarchical intellectual competence in a nomological network. The degree of variance explained in a hierarchal order was reflected in its components: a critical analysis (87.2%), strategic perspective (87.6%), and vision and imagination (65.3%). All the coefficients of progression of intellectual competence to its components were also significant at P <0.01. For intellectual competence, the CR (composite reliability) and AVE (mean-variance extracted) values ??were 0.926 and 0.514, respectively, which are greater than the threshold values. Figure 4: 2nd Order Intellectual Competence relationship with the 1st Order Components   Transformational leadership qualities                As mentioned earlier in the report, Daft and Pirola-Merlo (2009) identified two factors of transformational leadership: develop followers into leaders and inspire followers to go beyond their personal interests.  From the same book, this research also adopted questionnaire to measure transformational leadership qualities of project managers. The data on transformational leadership qualities was attained at the team leader level, scores were taken based on the measures defined in the book. When developing follower's transformational leaders Daft and Pirola-Merlo (2009) suggested that the score of 24 or higher in this dimension should be considered higher, the score of 18 is considered average and the score 12 or lower is considered on the lower side. The results of the study show that average for developing followers into leaders was 23.98. which is on the higher side of the scale. Followers had more freedom to control their own behaviour. These types of transformational leaders kept their followers together and around the project and set clear boundaries in which the disciples will be able to use their freedom to perform organizational tasks. In terms of inspiring followers to go beyond their personal interests, a score of 24 was high-level transformational leadership qualities. The results obtained from the surveys show that average of questions associated with inspiring followers to go beyond their personal interests for the benefit of the group was 23.94. these results show that a good consideration of inspired individuals to go beyond their own interests. The degree of variance explained in this hierarchal concept was also echoed in its components: developing followers into leaders is 97.5%. Inspiring followers to go beyond their interests is 96.7%. All the path coefficients from transformational leadership to its components were also significant at p < 0.01. The composite reliability (CR) and Average variance extracted(AVE) of this second order concept were 0.945 and 0.611, respectively, which are both greater than the threshold values.   Figure 5: 2nd order transformational leadership competence and its association with the 1st order components                 Discussion and Conclusion The result of the study shows that amongst all the attributes of leadership competencies, strategic perspective (? =0.945) is the most important factor, followed by critical analysis (? =0.936), engaging communication (? =0.918), achieving (? =0.906), developing (? =0.896), resource management (? =0.848), vision and imagination (? =0.796) and empowering (? =0.658) in project managers. These are validated by Dulewicz and Higgs (2005) and Muller and turner 2010. The study indicates that the project managers in a sustainable project show quality of transformational leadership, these attributes really have a small effect on the success criteria of a sustainable project. Literature suggests that transformational leadership qualities can be significant in a non-project organization where the employees are permanent, in a last lasting environment with no time limitation. Thus, they can engage with managers for a long period of time. The researchers in the study did not compare their findings with other research studies. However, it can be concluded from the study that the intellectual and managerial skills, in addition to the transformational leadership qualities of the project leaders, accounted for 68.5% variance in the achievement of GBI sustainable success criteria for these projects. In addition, IQ shows the highest ? = 0.596 in the model that is followed by MQ ? = 0.239 which shows that intellectual competence can play a greater role in achieving a sustainable project. From this, it can be concluded that the intellectual competence of a leader is more important than the managerial and transformational qualities of project leaders in terms of sustainable achievements.  Results for Hypothesis:                 The researchers have concluded the results of the hypothesis made in the study in the beginning. The results give a standardised beta of 0.596 from intellectual competence to the success standards. 0.293 from the managerial competence and 0.0953 from the transformational leadership to the success criteria.  Thus, support could be found only for Hypothesis 1 and Hypothesis 2. However, for Hypothesis 3 the results show that p-value was above 0.05, and therefore, transformational leadership qualities did not have a direct positive association with the success criteria in this model. However, the total second order R for this model was 0.685. Figures below shows the results of the study. Figure 6: Total effects of the factors associated with the success criteria of a sustainable project.           Figure 7: shows the Results of model testing.  And how these factors effect on success criteria of a project.     Limitations:                       The study has some limitation which can a good perspective for the future studies. The main limitation was that the study was performed among project managers in green building project s in Malaysia in a specific context. Adding to that the study is not a generalised study, as the findings are only based on small samples of data. Further studies can strengthen this model in green projects in different countries. By further research, it is probable that leadership behaviour could be further improved by integrating other additional constructs, such as situational behaviour, the emotional and social dimension in the leaders.


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