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Effects of team diversity on project performance in construction projects

journal contribution
posted on 15.10.2019, 00:00 by G Wu, Xianbo ZhaoXianbo Zhao, J Zuo, G Zillante
The purpose of this paper is fourfold: first, to investigate the effect of team diversity on different types of conflicts; second, to determine if team diversity is significantly correlated with project performance; third, to investigate the mediating effect of project conflicts on the relationship between team diversity and project performance and fourth, to examine the relationship between different types of conflicts and project performance in construction projects. Design/methodology/approach: A theoretical model was developed and a questionnaire survey was conducted with 246 professionals. The structural equation modeling technique was applied to analyze the data. Findings: The results showed that: team diversity was positively associated with project performance; the introduction of conflicts significantly weakened the effect of diversity on performance; conflicts have both constructive and destructive effects on project performance; and team diversity affected project performance through the mediating effects of task conflict and relationship conflict, thus adding both positive and negative effects on performance. Research limitations/implications: There are other factors which may affect conflicts and project performance such as communication, trust and contract. Future research could be conducted to determine the role of these variables in determining the effects of team diversity on performance. Practical implications: It is necessary to reduce the relationship conflict whereas maintaining a “healthy” level of task conflict. In light of this, the conclusions of this study highlight practical implications as follows: project teams should attach importance to diverse partner selection and select cooperative partners whose value orientations are similar; when implementing a construction project, the structure of diverse project teams should keep relatively stable, avoiding too many teams entering or exiting the project in a short period; project teams should make greater efforts to deal with destructive conflicts via relational governance such as trust and communication. Originality/value: This study contributes to the literature in three areas. First, this study investigated the dynamic mechanism between team diversity, conflicts and performance in construction projects. Second, this study contributes to the body of knowledge on validating the mediating effects of conflicts on the relationship between team diversity and performance. Third, this study validated the positive and negative effects of team diversity on performance with different types of conflicts as mediation variables in construction projects.








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Emerald Publishing, UK

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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External Author Affiliations

The University of Adelaide; Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, China

Era Eligible



Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management