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Che Ibrahim, C K I, Costello, S B and Wilkinson, S (2018) Making sense of team integration practice through the “lived experience” of alliance project teams. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 25(05), 598–622.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: New Zealand; Team integration; Construction; Alliance; Lived experience;
- ISBN/ISSN: 0969-9988
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-09-2016-0208
Team integration is a concept that has been widely fostered in alliances as a way of improving collaborative relationships between diverse organisations. However, deeper insights into the practice of high levels of team integration remain elusive. The purpose of this paper is to develop a deeper understanding of team integration through the “lived experience” of practitioners in an alliance.
Design/methodology/approachThis study employed a qualitative research methodology. Using a phenomenological examination, via the lived experiences of 24 alliance practitioners, the practice of alliance team integration has been investigated based on the key indicators that foster alliance team integration: team leadership, trust and respect, single team focus on project objectives and key results areas, collective understanding, commitment from project alliance board, single and co-located alliance team, and free flow communication. FindingsThe findings highlight that alliancing gives the project teams’ flexibility to change and adapt, to advance the collaborative environment and that successful integration of multi-disciplinary project teams requires commitment to the identified indicators. These findings have led to the development of a framework of leadership for successful alliance integrated practices. It is proposed that to influence the leadership for the purpose of achieving successful integration practice, a team-centric approach is required which includes four elements: task and relationship-oriented behaviours; collaborative learning environments; cultivating cross-boundary networks; and collaborative governance. Practical implicationsAs team integration is the central tenet of alliance projects, greater understanding regarding the leadership of integration practice is of value in leveraging the benefits of outstanding performance. Also, the results of the study are expected to be informative and provide insight for alliance teams to help them proactively recognise how the context of integrated teams is influenced by specific indicators, impacting on the extent of integration practice. Originality/valueThis study contributes to the current body of knowledge concerning the insights from the “lived experience” of alliance teams towards achieving a greater understanding of what contributes to the leadership of successful integration practices.