At the end of the world, turn left: examining toxic leadership, team silence and success in mega construction projects

Umer Zaman, Laura Florez-Perez, Mahwish Anjam, Muddasar Ghani Khwaja, Noor Ul-Huda

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

24 Citas (Scopus)


Purpose: Failures in both followership and leadership become inevitable as mega construction projects are directed and controlled by toxic leaders. Consequently, team member's desire for knowledge hoarding silence is triggered and goal alignment between the leader and team members suddenly fades away to realize success in mega projects. Considering the growing importance of these rarely examined constructs and fragmented literature on toxic leadership (TL), team silence and mega project success (PS) in the global construction industry, the present study aimed to examine the effects of TL and project team member's silence (PTMS) on the success of mega construction projects. Moreover, the mediating influence of PTMS to link TL and mega construction PS has also been explored. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on survey data of 326 project professionals directly associated with mega construction projects worth US$62bn under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the conceptual model was tested with covariance-based structural equation modeling (CB-SEM) using Mplus program. Scales were adapted from previous research to measure TL (with its five-dimensions including abusive supervision, authoritarian leadership, self-promotion, narcissism and unpredictability), PS (with its three-dimensions including project management success, project ownership success and project investment success) and project team members' silence. Reflective–formative second order assessments were specifically applied to measure the multi-dimensional nature of TL and PS, respectively. Findings: Mplus estimations revealed that TL negatively influences PS, besides forcing a culture of silence among project team members. Interestingly, the relationship between TL and PS is also negatively mediated by the PTMS. Research limitations/implications: The present study's findings are derived from data of project professionals (N = 326) to examine success in megaprojects under the CPEC. Hence, these findings may be re-validated through future studies on similar megaprojects (e.g. China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) worth US$8tn) that may also be predicated by TL tendencies, silent cultures and high-stakes involved to seize PS. Practical implications: Policymakers, construction practitioners and other key stakeholders (e.g. departmental heads/supervisors) can take advantage of this new evidence to better interpret the success paradox in mega projects, and to reduce the spread and long-term damage of TL on team members and eventually create opportunities for PS. Originality/value: The present study's novelty is manifested within this first empirical evidence on TL that breeds team silence in underperforming mega projects. Notably, present study offers alarming evidence on mega projects that can be easily derailed from success, as they continue to suffer from team silence and TL.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)2436-2462
Número de páginas27
PublicaciónEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
EstadoPublicada - 7 jun. 2023


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