Team Leaders’ & Team Members’ Interviews about Reverse Mentoring for Team Effectiveness in Construction Projects

More Info


The present study attempts to explore the concept of reverse mentoring at a project level within construction, perceiving it as that process who supports learning from someone subordinate to someone superior on the basis of a power difference relationship between a team member and a team leader. So far, the existing literature has emphasized on the concept’s application within companies at a wide range of different sectors with the benefits being overwhelming for both reverse mentoring participants and the organization as a whole. However, they do not examine it within the project context. Not only does the present work, places reverse mentoring into that unexplored area, but focuses specifically on construction projects since their growing complexity and their entrance into the fourth industrial revolution, increase the need of project managers to shift their focus from the traditional project management tools and techniques that drive only productivity, towards new practices that target human development and team performance improvement. Therefore, the main goal of the current research is to explore the model’s applicability in construction projects and gain understanding of the possible model’s contribution to the team members’ and the team leaders’ development and the overall project team effectiveness.

A qualitative research approach with the use of fifteen semi-structured interviews with team leaders and team members of different construction project teams was adopted in order to achieve the target goal of this study. Some of the main results are related to the way the model can be implemented in practice, suggesting important decisions and actions that need to be taken during the whole reverse mentoring process. Moreover, it has been identified that the reverse mentoring concept can positively influence the nine out of fifteen, recognized by literature, elements of highly effective construction project teams. These positively influenced factors are; communication, decision making, conflict solving, team leadership, quality relationships, team composition, soft skills, goals & objectives as well as mutual trust, commitment & shared values.

The fact that the added value of reverse mentoring to the overall project team effectiveness based on the conducted interviews concerns the nine out of fifteen elements of highly effective construction project teams, leads us to our main conclusion that reverse mentoring may not make a huge difference in overall project team effectiveness, requiring each project team to implement the idea, but at least it has a positive effect on the majority of team effectiveness factors. Therefore, it may be up to each project team to decide which factors need improvement and thus determine whether or not a reverse mentoring practice should be adopted. However, our suggestion in order to experience the maximum benefits of the model is to somewhat formalize a process that takes into account the implementation suggestions presented in the current study.