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Title: Role conflict and role ambiguity in construction projects
Author: Kabiri, Shabnam
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 5713
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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For any individual in an organization, numerous other individuals will have multiple expectations. To the extent that those multiple expectations misalign, the individual as well as his/her relationship with other individuals could be affected. This can cause strain and frustration for the individual, which may lead to tension within the project team. This study focuses on participants' expectations from each other. The aim is to identify situations involving conflicting expectations (role conflict) and/or ambiguous expectations (role ambiguity) and to investigate their consequences on individuals and project team. Studying participants' expectations inevitably opens up the discussion of sources of those expectations. Several formal and informal elements before the start and in the course of a construction project influence those expectations. Drawing on organizational role theory, a model of role interaction was developed which allowed a systematic analysis of participants' interactions while taking into account formal and informal sources of role expectations and role behaviour. Semi-structured interviews with 23 project participants in three construction projects in the design phase were carried out. Project/design team meetings were observed, and the project contracts and the minutes of meetings were studied. In total, 13 instances involving role conflict and/or role ambiguity were identified and examined. The analysis showed that the introduction of new technologies, the procurement method and ambiguities across formal sources influence role interactions and have the potential to lead to situations of role conflict and role ambiguity with varying levels of personal and organizational 'costs'. To resolve the tension, participants either conform to role expectations or negotiate ways to accommodate them. In extreme cases, participants break the interaction. In the study, documents that define responsibilities and limits on time and budget were the most important formal sources, while fear of upsetting the client and participants' values and interests were the most important informal sources of role expectation and role behaviour. Managers in construction firms and in client's project organizations can significantly contribute to the success or failure of enactment of a new role.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: construction firms ; construction project ; project organization ; project team ; role theory ; client ; interview