Cross-Functional Project Teams in Construction: A Longitudinal Case Study

Jean E. Laurent1 & Robert M. Leicht2

1Graduate Student, Department of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA,
2Assistant Professor, Department of Architectural Engineering, Director of Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (PACE), The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA,


For many years traditional project delivery methods have been utilized in the construction industry, but new delivery systems such as IPD are being developed to answer the need for more integrated approaches. Studies have been conducted to assess the impact of project delivery method on project performance, but few focus on the effect of team composition and organization. However, many factors influence the need for evolving cross-functional project teams (CFPTs) as project needs change and there are additions of new participants to the project. This research presents a case study of an IPD project delivered at the Pennsylvania State University for a mixed-use laboratory, office and classroom building. The objective is to demonstrate the composition and evolution of the CFPTs organization, from the beginning of the design through early construction. This study shows that three main causes impacted the organization of CFPTs. First, the on-boarding of new project participants necessitated new CFPT organization to better fit members into specific groups. Second, certain CFPTs were created in order to achieve a specific task, leading to the dissolution of the team once the task is achieved. Third, CFPTs can show low performance related to their original goals requiring the project team to adjust the CFPT organization. The IPD structure showed unique organizational flexibility as CFPTs, leaders and members were replaced or exchanged to better fit the project needs when new members are added to the team, or if a member was not effective in meeting changing project needs.


Cross-Functional Project Teams, Lean, IPD, Integrated Projects



Laurent, J.E. & Leicht, R.M. 2017, 'Cross-Functional Project Teams in Construction: A Longitudinal Case Study' In:, 25th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Heraklion, Greece, 9-12 Jul 2017. pp 317-324

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