June 21, 2024

Leadership Theories for Construction Project Leaders

Leadership Theories for Construction

Leadership is essential in construction project management. Specially, the project managers should equip with leadership skills to lead their team towards project completion. Leadership is still identified as a complex topic where still there are many types of research going on. For many years, researchers have spent time studying different leadership styles.  Therefore, there are leadership theories available that are worth studying to understand the most suitable leadership styles for leading construction projects.

Leadership Theories for Construction Leaders

Walker (2017) identifies that leadership is connected with a person’s cognitive & psychological development. However, leadership is considered a process that helps in motivating others in the team to achieve goals by enhancing collaboration ( Vroom & Jago, 2007).

Behavioural Theories of Leadership

In behavioural leadership, a leader utilizes his behaviour to influence others. Therefore, behaviour is the best determinant of the success of a leader who follows Behavioral Theories of Leadership (Leadership-Central, n.a.). As behaviour can depend on the specific situation as a response for it, behaviour focused approach can give a real marketing benefit for a leader. Studies that have been done by Ohio State University in the 1940s identified two groups of behaviour groups. These are namely People Oriented behavioural Leaders and Task Oriented Leaders (Leadership-Central, n.a.).  

Participative Management and Employee and Stakeholder Involvement

Participative Management leadership theory focuses on the organization and its stakeholders. This theory addresses the relationship between employees and stakeholders with the organization. This leadership theory also gives solutions for fundamental issues of organizational governance including employees’ and external stakeholders’ roles for the decision-making process (Branch, 2002).

The leadership theory for a large multinational corporation with subsidiaries around the world

I believe Participative Management and Employee and Stakeholder Involvement are the most suitable theory for a large multinational corporation with subsidiaries around the world.

Because this theory encourages the interactive relationship between the organization and its stakeholders. Therefore, it can address the socio-political system and the workplace by encouraging better relationships with its stakeholders. Further, it improves organizational performance, and employee and manager motivation same as job satisfaction (Branch, 2002). On the other hand, a multinational corporation with subsidiaries around the world has to address each of the country’s laws, political situation and even culture when doing business. If they follow Participative Management and Employee and Stakeholder Involvement theory, it is easy to address issues with political and social culture as employees and stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process.


Branch, K. M. (2002, August 6). Participative management and employee and stakeholder involvement. Management Benchmarking Study, 1-27.

Leadership-Central. (n.a.). Behavioral Theories of Leadership. https://www.leadership-central.com/behavioral-theories.html#axzz3tD3BNLW1

Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (2007, January). The role of the situation in leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 17 – 24.  http://web.mit.edu/curhan/www/docs/Articles/15341_Readings/Leadership/Vroom_Jago_2007_The_role_of_the_situtation_in_leadership.pdf

Walker, S. (2017). What Makes a Leader, is it Skills, Traits or Behavior?.  PennState. https://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2017/05/28/what-makes-a-leader-is-it-skills-traits-or-behavior/

Disclaimer: This article was created using a paper written as part of the MBA program.

Also read:  Situational Theory of Leadership

Amila Gamage

Amila Gamage is the founder of Sihela Consultants and Builtlogy digital magazine. Her experience in the construction industry is over 17 years specializing in contract management. She is also an ACLP certified trainer in Singapore and conducts workshops and training sessions on related topics.

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