Title: Leadership skills and competencies for cross-cultural construction projects

Authors: Shamas-ur-Rehman Toor, Stephen O. Ogunlana

Addresses: Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, 4 Architecture Drive, National University of Singapore, 117566, Singapore. ' School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK

Abstract: Cross-cultural projects are increasingly common in construction. Project leaders need to develop skills and competencies that can help them to effectively perform their leadership roles in such projects. In order to examine the leadership competencies and skills required to lead projects in a multicultural environment, questionnaire surveys and interviews were conducted with project leaders on a mega construction project in Thailand. A total of 78 respondents from ten different nationalities participated in the study. They belonged to various construction stakeholders such as clients, consultants, designers and contractors. Leadership competencies such as communication, teamwork, and personal and interpersonal skills were perceived to be vital for project leaders in a multicultural environment. Flexibility in decision making, persistent performance, good listening skills and problem-solving style were also highlighted among the top-rated competencies of cross-cultural leaders. In order to develop cross-cultural leadership competencies, the respondents emphasised comprehensive training and orientation as well as inclusion of cross-cultural leadership courses at graduate-level programmes in universities.

Keywords: cross-cultural leadership; construction projects; leadership competencies; leadership skills; international construction; construction industry; multicultural environment; Thailand.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2008.018787

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2008 Vol.8 No.3, pp.192 - 215

Published online: 18 Jun 2008 *

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