Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Negative Leadership in Architectural Design Offices

By Esin Kasapoğlu

Submitted: November 11th 2017Reviewed: February 14th 2018Published: March 21st 2018

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.75445

Downloaded: 873


Building projects performed by a design team, which include the architectural, structural, and building services teams. The success of the project depends on the performance of each team. When a large number of people are working on a project, a high level of successful teamwork is required. As in all teams, an architectural design team needs a leader and, in this case, the owner of the office is the formal leader of the design team. Generally, architects are leaders of both the architectural design team and the design team. As the leader of both groups, the relationship between the leader architect and the groups directly related to the project’s success. If the personal objectives of every team member united with the team objectives, members will be more eager to achieve the team objectives. The behaviors of the lead architect are important factors in the performance of the design team in a construction project. The purpose of this study is emphasizing the importance of leadership in architectural design teams. The chapter will mainly focus on the effects of negative leadership on architectural design offices and on how leadership behaviors affect the performance of the design team.


  • negative leadership
  • design team
  • architects
  • trust
  • team performance

1. Introduction

Leadership has been contemplated and a topic of interest, speculation and debate since the days of Greek philosophers, especially the time of Plato. It is one of the most popular research topics in organizational behavior subjects and in organizations around the world, from massive conglomerates to small custom fabrication shop. When organizations, groups or teams fail, their leadership gets too much of the blame and when they are successful, their leadership receives too much of the credit. Leadership is a critical variable in shaping organizational effectiveness and leaders do make a difference. Effective leaders help their followers define their goals and find ways to achieve them. Leaders ensure that followers have the motivation, role clarity and suitable work environment to achieve specified goals. [1, 2] Contemporary leaders are most helpful to their organizations, when they are flexible, experimental and open; and they need ways to acquire the understandings and skills necessary to do that [3].

Leadership affects performance of the organizations in different ways, and while sometimes can lead positive effects; some other times can lead negative effects. Architectural design teams, since they are also a kind of organization, effected positively or negatively by the leadership style of their managers. However, architectural design teams have some different properties, when compared to other types of teams. Architectural design teams are project-based organizations that rely heavily on human resources, but they are not brought together on a temporary basis such as project-based organizations, although architectural design project is temporary, the team is permanent.

The architectural design is concerning the size, shape and organization of the spaces within the building and the design process defined by the nature and form of the building construction and its services. The leaders of the architectural design teams are generally the owner of the office. The leader architects must not only be a good designer, but also an effective leader for the success of the project. Leadership styles of the owners of the officers affect the performance of the team positively or negatively.

The purpose of this chapter is emphasizing the importance of leadership in architectural design teams and discussing the negative results on the performance of the architectural design team.


2. Leadership

Leaders exist within all organizations, but they may be managers or non-managers. Leaders stimulate a great deal of effort for obtaining individual, group and organizational performance. [1] Leadership is necessary for effective management, but leadership and management are somewhat separate. Management is a mechanical process using techniques, responding to directives from elsewhere and controlling those managed [4]. There are various leadership definitions, and while some of them based on leader characteristics, the other leader behaviors or still others on outcomes or results. A leadership definition is the process of influencing people and providing an environment to facilitate the attainment of organizationally relevant goals [1, 2]. The people led the task, the people performing and the environment in which the people and the task exist are the three important variables with which every leader must deal [1].

Traditionally, leadership is not only seen as a function of hierarchical positions holding status and power, but it is also a complex and controversial topic with many paradoxes. Increasingly, leadership seen as attaching itself to a wider range of individuals lowers down an organization’s hierarchy and led to traditional leadership structures challenged, with the emergence of broad organizational structures and team working [4]. Leading others along a way, guiding is another leadership definition. This definition suggests that the leader must help the organization to choose the right path (vision, goal and plan) and help to motivate people [5]. Generating truss, purveying hope, favoring action and risk taking are other common characteristics of leadership. Leaders are proactive and willing to take risk, and provide direction to their followers, remind people what is important, why and what makes an important difference. Leaders are purveyors of hope and in both symbolic and tangible ways reinforce the notion that success attained. Leaders are challenged by many changes occurring within and outside of the organizations. It is very important to be an effective leader, efficiently use and manage the available information technology so that the organization can compete. A leader faces everyday properly aligning the human resources of the organization with the changes occurring requires an understanding of the organization’s environment, individual characteristics, group behavior, organizational structure and design, decision making and organizational change processes [1].

Leadership is the combination of motivation, trust and power and affected by the national and organizational culture.

2.1. Motivation

One of the key ingredients in employee performance and productivity is motivation. Effective leadership is much more than developing an appropriate vision for the company. Motivating people to follow that vision is critical [5]. People will not get the job done without sufficient motivation to achieve work objectives, even when they clear work objectives, the right skills and a supportive work environment. Motivation is the forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity and persistence of voluntary behavior. Motivated employees exert intensity, a particular level of effort; for a certain amount of time, towards a particular goal [2].

Walker [4] defined the motivation for managers to understand the motivation of employees, so that managers can influence employees’ behavior and provide motivation, leads to greater job satisfaction and higher performance. Individuality and complexity of people creates many dimensions leading differences in their motivation. The subjective perceptions and preferences of individuals place different values on rewards and the different perceptions they have about the probability of achieving them. [4]

Direction, intensity and persistence are the three distinct components of motivation. When an individual presented with a number of possible alternatives, what an individual chooses to do and preference for a particular outcome related with direction. The employee is motivated, regardless of which option selected. The strength of the response once the direction made and the amount of effort to achieve refers to the intensity component of motivation. Persistence is an important component of motivation and refers to stay power of behavior, how long a person will continue to devote effort, and the strength of the urge to persist when they face obstacles. Managers’ influence is not so much one of increasing motivation occasionally, but off creating an environment wherein employee motivation channeled in the right direction at an appropriate level of intensity and continues over time [1, 4].

2.2. Trust

Trust is ambiguous, complex, paradoxical and perplexing. Trust is a particular level of subjective probability with which an agent assess that another agent or group of agents will perform a particular action, both before he can monitor such action. In construction, focus on trust is evident in the increase in conciliation and other more benign dispute resolution processes and particularly as a major element in the use of relational contracting as a procurement method. Particularly, since the move from the traditional dependence of formal contracts between parties due to the advent of collaborating, the issue of trust affects significantly on the construction industry. Trust between the parties depends upon a greater degree in construction collaborating. Collaborating requires the members of the partnership to have a shared culture based on trust. Seeking cooperation and collaboration through shared cultures will provide a platform for individuals in each organization to trust each other [4].

Each representing a different level and form of relationship, there are three types of trust, along with whom to trust. Calculus-based trust is minimal level of trust and refers to an expected consistency of behavior based on deterrence. Knowledge-based trust based on the other parties’ predictability, and developed by the meaningful communication and experience. Identification-based trust grounded on mutual understanding and emotional bond between the parties. Calculus-based trust grounded on each party’s beliefs that the other will deliver on its promises because punishments will be administered if they fail. Knowledge-based trust grounded on consistency of the leader’s behavior. When employees know leader’s past actions, they can predict more accurately, what the leader will do in the future. When one party thinks like, feels like and responds like the other party, identification-based trust occurs. Calculus-based trust is the weakest and identification-based trust is the most robust of all three. Knowledge-based trust developed over time and more stable than calculus-based trust. [2]

In several leadership theories, trust has become a key concept, including charismatic leadership, leader-member exchange theory and transformational leadership. Klausner [6] discussed the emergence of trust and mistrust in leadership relationships from a processual perspective and defined trust as an interactional state characterizing the relationship that trust occurs when both individuals trust each other. Trust results from ongoing leadership interaction and viewed as a state of relationship in general. As a characterization of social relationships, trust is always in motion and not a static phenomenon. Behavior repeatedly perceived as fair by both individuals is a necessary condition on which trust can emerge, since trust based on positive expectations regarding the behavior of the interaction partner. Assuming that fair and unfair behavior are uniformly distributed, mistrust is more likely to occur than trust. In leader-follower relationships, abusive supervision can be understood as a specific form of mistrust [6].

2.3. Power

Power defined as the capacity of a person, team or organization to influence others [2] or the capability to get someone to do something [1]. Managers and non-mangers use power and it is pervasive part of the fabric of organizational life. Leaders use power to accomplish goals and most of the time to strengthen their own positions. Power is an aspect of the relationship that exits between at least two people. Power must exist in relation to some other person or group; no individual or group can have power in isolation [1]. Power can used positively or negatively. According to French and Bell [7], in the face of conflict, such that self-interest and others’ interests balanced or accommodated to promote a nonzero-sum approach is using power positively. Alternatively, in the pursuit of self-interest alone, a zero-sum approach in which the less ethical tactics of deceit, secrecy, etc. are common for using power negatively [8].

In project organization, the importance of leadership and power is apparent, since project organization focuses on people [9]. Construction projects bring a diversity of individuals and organizations together, in which power is important. Construction organizations more formally structured with more rigid hierarchies than are design organizations such as architects and specialist interior designers. Members of the architectural design team may be more inclined to conspire to override authority in pursuit of idealistic ideas could be contrary to the objectives of their firms and their clients. Traditionally architects, but sometimes project managers, select the consultants with whom they will work. This gives the architect or the project manager power over the consultants, as they will be unwilling to go against the desires of those who may hold the future work. The potential of future commissions from new sources give power to architects or project managers. The four sources of power found in construction, but expert power is a major force on construction projects. It is likely that the specialization of professional skills contributes to the effectiveness of expertise as a power base. A reputation as an experts gather support from colleagues against less expert members of the team. Referent power particularly reinforced by charisma and the influence that people exercise is because people believe in them. An architect with an international reputation for the design of famous buildings is in a strong position and has a referent power [4]. Fellows et al. [8] investigated aspects of leadership style and power within quantity surveying in both clients’ and contractors’ project teams in Hong Kong. Power distance is unrelated to either preferred or adopted leadership style; however, relate to the impact of leadership style on perceived performance and group morale as well as subordinate satisfaction. They found that expert power is the most important source of power for project quantity surveyors and supportive style is the most preferred leadership style; since, national culture of Chinese people are low individualism, harmony and paternalism [8].

2.4. Organizational culture

A nation’s culture affects organizational transactions, such as reward programs, supervisor employee interactions or marketing, conducted. Respect, flexibility and knowledge are important factors for coping with national culture differences are important factors for managers to consider in their plans. It becomes fundamental today for managers to understand both the national culture and various organizational culture characteristics [1]. Both national culture and organizational culture have a profound effect on leadership styles [4].

Different cultures have different ideas of the nature and different models of management of organizations. Hence, every organization has its own culture or shared systems of meanings. An organization can differentiate its members from other organizations’ members with its own culture [10]. The effectiveness of leaders considerably differs across cultures [11]. Hofstede [12] argues that cultural dimensions differ between Western and Eastern nations. Attributes of Western cultures are task-oriented, with relatively low power distance, individualistic and uncertainty avoidant. On the other hand, Eastern societies are high in people-orientation, collectivism, long-term orientation and have high power distance [12].

Organizational culture defined as the basic pattern of shared assumptions, values and beliefs considered being the correct way of employees thinking about and acting on problems and opportunities facing the organization. Organizational culture is a deeply embedded form of social control that influences employee decisions and behavior. Employees motivated to internalize the organization’s dominant culture because it fulfills their need for social identity. Organizational culture defines what is important or unimportant in the company and assists the sense making in the process. Employees can understand organizational events and get on with the task rather than spend time trying to figure out what expected of them. They can reach higher levels of cooperation with each other and communicate more efficiently, since they share common mental models of reality. Culture is one of the few means to tie people together [2]. Culture only sensed or felt through a person’s attitudes, emotion and perceptions; it is a part of organizational life, that influences the behavior, attitudes and overall effectiveness of employees; but it cannot be seen. Organizational culture provides and encourages a form of stability and a sense of organizational identity [1]. Bass [13] demonstrated the relationship between the two concepts by examining the impact of different styles of leadership on culture. The ability to understand and work within a certain culture is a prerequisite to leadership effectiveness [14]. Many parts of organizational theory show that leadership studies are unlikely to be of any additive value unless they take into account organizational culture. The relationship between leadership and culture represents an ongoing interplay in which the leaders shapes the culture, and in turn shaped by the existing culture [14, 15].

It is useful to distinguish strong and weak cultures. Employees share core values in a strong culture. When core values shared and accepted more by the employees, the culture becomes stronger and more influential on the employee behavior [1]. Culture is a complex outcome of external pressures, internal potentials, responses to critical events, and, probably, to some unknown degree, changes factors that could not be predicted from a knowledge of either the environment or the members [15].

Ankrach et al. [16] undertook research into culture within a construction project organization. They found that in terms of factors influencing culture, one of the most important determinants was leadership. In terms of relationships, behaviors, attitudes and organizational systems associated with the culture, one of main dimensions found to be associated with leadership. Clearly, leadership together with other attributes affect performance outcomes [16].

Culture is a powerful force and particularly complex because of subcultures in the construction industry. Subcultures form the base for the dominant culture of most organizations. When an organization becomes larger and more complex, the more likely that subcultures will form. Subcultures often defined by departments and geographical locations and tend to form to reflect specializations, common experience and problems. Although construction industry defined as macho, uncompromising, uncaring, opportunistic and adversarial and a culture of control and command, they are not common to all construction firms contributing to construction projects. Architects and other designers perceived to have a predominantly esthetic culture; engineers a culture of inflexibility; contractors of practicality and adaptability [4].


3. Negative leadership

The two main organizational approaches of leadership are positive and negative. The positive organizational approach focuses on enabling positive social exchange relationships among organizational members, foremost of which are between leaders and their subordinates and emphasizes enabling subordinate performance through exercising positive, supportive influence tactics. Various influence tactics used, some of them are downward which include task commitment and individual effectiveness. Hard and soft categories of leader influence tactics are the other types. Hard tactics associated with member compliance or resistance, and soft tactics with member commitment. [17, 18]. Negative influence tactics conceptually similar to hard tactics and lead leaders to believe that they control their subordinate’s behavior and performance [19]. In particular, offering just a positive vision of leadership carries the risk of neglecting consideration of the dark sides of leadership, which reflect the hidden aspects of human nature. Leadership is a complex and detailed process marked by lights and shadows, and examination of lights and shadows of leadership allows us to have a complete understanding of a phenomenon much more difficult and problematic than a mere enumeration of features, principles and values to follow [20].

When the leadership style adopted is positive, a culture of empathy and trust [21] developed and the management and staff within the organization become an effective team [22]. However, the cognitive and organizational factors within the partnership can lead to negative leadership behavior then a culture of violent innocence pervades [23] and the organization ultimately fails [24]. Emotions are an important and deep-rooted aspect of organizational life. It is essential to managerial work creating and nourishing a healthy working climate and positive interpersonal relationships [25]. It is obvious that management activities should aim for establishing mutually beneficial interpersonal relationships where partners are able and willing to regulate and adjust emotions [26]. Zineldin and Hytter [27] showed that leadership styles related to subordinates’ overall psychological health and well-being. Leaders establish strict regulations and monitor and control subordinate performance, show a negative relation to subordinate well-being [27].

Toor and Ogunlana [28] stated that negative personal attributes of the leader contributing to leadership ineffectiveness be regarded as passive or laissez-faire leadership where the leader takes a very passive approach towards leading and does not show interest in fulfilling his or her responsibilities and duties [29, 30]. In the view of Einarsen et al. [31], laissez-faire leadership is in clear violation of organizational interests as it results in poor efficiency and possibly undermines well-being, motivation and job satisfaction of subordinates [28].

The term “negative leadership behavior” refers to generally denunciated and detested behaviors on the part of a leader. Ashforth [32] considers negative leadership as ineffective leadership or absence of leadership. According to Einarsen et al. [31], negative leadership regard to as destructive leadership which means behavior that violates or/and undermine the legitimate interest of organization and well-being of subordinates. Organizational leadership is related to, and predictive of, health and safety-relevant outcomes in employees. The quality of leadership linked to an array of positive or negative outcomes within occupational health psychology. Psychological well-being and organizational safety climate are among the positive outcomes. Employee stress, cardiovascular disease, workplace incidents, injuries and health-related behaviors such as alcohol use are among the negative outcomes [33]. Tepper [34] linked abusive supervision in particular with diminished job satisfaction, increased employee distress and defined employees’ perception as the leader engaging in a sustained display of hostile verbal and non-verbal behaviors, excluding physical contact. According to Tepper et al. [35], abusive leadership manifests itself in the public ridiculing of subordinates, blaming subordinates for mistakes they did not make. Keashly [36] added the use of derogatory names and intimidation. Schilling [37] considers insincere, despotic, exploitative, restrictive, failed, avoiding active or passive and laissez-faire leadership among the eight dimensions of negative leadership behaviors.

Conger [38] defined dark side of leadership that such events taking place whenever a leader’s behavior exaggerated, become vehicles for purely personal gain, or lose touch with reality, then the possibility of the behavior harming the leader and the organization increases. According to Hackman and Johnson [39], the leadership that does not have the ethical components of moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation and moral action is called unethical leadership. [40] Abusive leadership is on the dark side of leadership that abusive supervision empirically linked to impaired well-being burnout, feelings of helplessness, diminished levels of self-efficacy, self-esteem, affective commitment to the organization and increased employee strain [33, 41, 42].

Blair et al. [43] investigated if highly narcissistic individuals frequently engage in behaviors that are associated with unethical leadership, or not. Unethical leaders operate frequently with an egoistic intent, utilize controlling as opposed to empowering strategies to influence followers, fail to abstain from vices [44] and acting in manipulation and exploitation [45]. Yukl [46] defined unethical leadership behaviors including falsifying information, provoking distrust among others, blaming followers for their own mistakes and showing favoritism in exchange for self-serving actions. Conger [38] defined unethical leadership behaviors, such as making exaggerated claims for the vision, and narcissistic leadership behaviors, such as using anecdotes to distract from statistical information and making exaggerated claims regarding information. According to Hovel and Avolio [47], unethical leaders use power for personal gain, promote their own personal vision, censure opposing views, demand their own decisions accepted without question, engage in one way communication, show insensitivity to follower has needs and rely on convenient external moral standards to satisfy self-interests [43].

Negative attributes or impediments for effective leadership, sometimes it is called negative leadership, toxic leadership, abusive leadership or destructive leadership, and can affect followers, organizations, external stakeholders and even leaders themselves [28]. Several negative personal traits lead to ineffectiveness of leadership. Both anti-subordinate behaviors such as intimidating and bullying subordinates, and anti-organizational behaviors such as laziness, lack of appropriate management skills, failing to build teams, being unable to think strategically and spending more time occupied with matters other than their work assignments are among the personal behaviors of leaders that lead to ineffectiveness [48]. On the other hand, according to Lombardo et al. [49], inability to build a cohesive team, over- and under-managing, being overly ambitious, not supportive and demanding of subordinates, being overly emotional, being sensitive, cold and arrogant, and maintaining poor relations with staff and overriding personality defects are the characteristics contributing to the incompetence of managers. According to Schaubroeck et al. [50], personal insensitivity of leaders and excessive demands seen to interfere with performance of subordinate and create strain. Charisma, personalized use of power, narcissism, negative life themes and an ideology of hate are among the personal attributes conceptualized by Padilla et al. [28, 51].

Destructive leadership is another style of leadership, which is on the dark side. According to Ferris et al. [52] destructive leaders are workplace bullies. Hauge et al. [53] found that tyrannical (and laissez-faire) leadership styles related to workplace bullying and suggested that bullying is more likely in environments characterized by tyrannical leadership and is particularly prevalent when supervisors do not intervene to prevent and manage bullying [33]. Destructive leaders potentially do a lot of damage due to their influence over others such as their health, etc. [54].


4. Architectural design teams

According to Schön [55], the designers, the design task and the design process are described as an integrated cognitive activity. Teamwork in design process is fundamental with an emphasis on identifying supportive organizational forms or successful interactive arrangements. The design group executes specific design activities, structure design communication, assign and solve problems, as well as document activities [4, 56, 57, 58]. In the view of Ogot and Okudan [59], design teams characterized by a high degree of interdependence to achieve common goals, and rely heavily on the dynamic exchange of information and resources among members. Architectural design is a knowledge-intensive activity, and in the design process, architects work as a team. Architectural design relies on effective interaction between project actors and stakeholders, and it is a collaborative act. Team building, resolution of minor differences and conflicts, subsequent sharing of values and discussion, question asking and the creation of trust between team members are just a few of the factors that are crucial to the smooth running of projects and which are reliant on the ability of the actors to communicate effectively and efficiently. Design teams are for architectural projects defined as multidisciplinary, temporary and network-based organizations. One of the design team members, usually the architect or a project manager delegated by the client, manage these grouping of specialist designers [60]. A specialist designer can be the representative of a collaborating design organization, an individual or an independent designer. According to Schön [61] and Lawson [62], they are usually designers with a management task or managers with an additional designing task and are characterized as visionary, specialty aware, creative and abstract thinking practitioners with a high level of technical knowledge and experience [63].

Architects have a complex role, rather than being the leader of design team, that they are responsible for building space use, appearance, relationships among users and spaces, finishes, and the overall coordination of all parties to the planning and design process. Architectural design teams play a significant role in the inception, planning and design, and the construction phase, of a development project, within the complexity of the construction industry. The purpose of an architectural practice is delivering shelter, functional for human habitation, creating a representative enclosure that illustrates certain values such as culture, belief and function, and providing investment purposes to the building [64]. Architectural design team is one of the members of design team and design teams often with each other repeatedly—frequently with the same individuals—improving their ability to be effective and efficient. Design teams are temporary, multi-organizational and considered as a homogenous organization in relation to the project. Design teams should work cooperatively to achieve effective and efficient performance. Symth [65] showed that trust in the market place is of great significance.

Organizational culture of an architectural design team is the result of interactions between a group of individuals that develop and exchange ideas, beliefs and experiences just like the other teams. Depending on the national cultures of teams, organizational cultures can be similar or different. Lai et al. [64] revealed the status of organizational culture in the architectural design teams in Malaysia that operate slightly different in term of the status of organizational culture, despite similarities to Western and developed countries. In Scotland, organization culture of an architectural design team described as informal and decentralized; the members free to give suggestions, the organizations are willing to tackle risk and uncertainties and members allowed to plan and manage their tasks independently [28]. Turkish Architectural design teams portrayed individualism, assertiveness and freedom as key constituents of their organizational culture. High degrees of freedom and tolerance to risk are the cultural aspects of the most in demand among Turkish architects [64, 66].

4.1. Creativity in architectural design teams

Creativity is the ability to break away from habit-bound thinking and produce novel and useful ideas. Giving people opportunity and freedom to think in unconventional ways, encourage and develop creativity within organizations [1]. Developing an original product, service or idea makes a socially recognized contribution [2]. Originality and usefulness are the criteria for judging creativity according to conception of creativity [67]. Another definition for creativity is a process by which an individual, group or team produces novel and useful ideas to solve a problem or capture an opportunity [1]. Creativity refers to the production of new and useful ideas and the production of a product, novel and appropriate response, or solution to an open-ended task. The response cannot be merely different, but must be new, valuable, feasible, correct or somehow fitting to a particular goal. The response must also be appropriate to the task to be completed or the problem to solve. Moreover, rather than having a single, obvious solution, the task must be open-ended [68]. Creativity is part of most non-programmed decisions and not something we save for special occasions. Creative process is for finding problems, identifying alternatives and implementing solutions [2]. Intrinsic motivation is the most important determinant of individual creativity according to componential theory of creativity, because it makes the difference between what an individual can do and what an individual will do. Intrinsic motivation is the motivational state that an individual driven by his or her interest in the work and engages in it for the sake of the work itself. Leadership behavior considered as an important contextual factor that enhances or constraints individual creativity through promoting or diminishing intrinsic motivation [67].

In construction, creativity has great resonance and most seen in the work of architects [4]. The study reported by Meng et al. [67] drawing upon the components theory of creativity, cognitive evaluation theory and social exchange theory, confirmed the role of negative leadership in the process of diminishing an individual’s intrinsic motivation towards a creative task. Groups and teams have more creative potential than individuals do, especially when the task is complex and novel and there is uncertainty. Because of possessing combined expertise, resources and experience, groups have creative potential [1]. In architectural design teams, as in all teams, leader architects expected to unite the team’s objectives and employee architects’ objectives. Motivating young architects achieved by allowing them to exercise their creativity, since architectural design teams focus on creativity. Kratzer et al. [68] based a study on engineering design teams and confirmed that leadership promotes creativity when it is moderately centralized in the workflow network, decentralized in the problem-solving network, moderately centralized in the awareness network and very central in the external information network. Working with experienced architects is a way for less experienced employees to learn and continue their education in the field of architecture. Because the level of professionalism among architects is high, this approach may work. Atwater and Carmeli [69] shed light on high-quality relationships between leaders and followers and found that feelings of energy can encourage employees to become involved in creative work. Because creativity is a mentally demanding behavior, people need to feel aroused and energized to perform work tasks creatively. Both leader and followers are architects in project design teams, so the behavior of the leader has to support the followers’ increasing creativity in work. The organizational variables that are likely to vary the demands on leaders and require specific leadership behaviors include firm size, the organizational environment and the type of strategy, technology and organizational forms. It is likely that either the differential importance of behaviors or different behaviors will be associated with differences in organizations [70]. The leadership of the employer architects is an important source of motivation. An employer architect must be a leader and an efficient organizer. Clearly, the success of the design project depends on the design team working effectively. The way the architect leads directly relates to the performance of the team and the style of leadership. Individual characteristics such as motivation and personality, as well as environmental factors such as superior’s leadership and job control, considered among the causes of creative behavior [71].

4.2. Leadership in architectural design teams

Architects are assuming roles of project designers, project team leaders and project supervisors. Construction industry is multi-disciplinary team-based industry and architects required to have key project management competencies to enable them to perform effectively and efficiently with other professionals. Kwofie et al. [72] found that efficient team leadership is the first critical factor influencing effectiveness of construction projects. In project teams, the project leader considered responsible for the success or failure of the project and thus provides planning and conditions to realize project goals and clear direction, and thus provides project success. Leadership is a factor, which yields desirable interpersonal effectiveness of the team for project success [72].

After the completion of the project, the organization usually continues to work on a different project and does not disband. Still, the structure of architectural design teams differs from that in manufacturing industries, which is characterized by permanent organizational structures. The task is the architectural design project, but the organization does not disband like the other project-based organizations after the completion of the task. In an architectural design team, unlike in the manufacturing industry, a single project undertaken may need a large capital investment. An architectural design team is different from other organizations in the construction industry, and a new style of leadership may be needed. One of the necessities for improving the performance of the architectural project is uniting employees around team objectives. It is not easy to create trust among team members and focus them on team objectives. An architectural design team or other design teams are part of the construction industry, but they differ from other parts of the industry in many ways. In architectural design offices, although the task is temporary, the organization is not a temporary organizational structure.

Architects require a high degree of people skills and social competence to lead. A high level of social competence is required to work in a team and to be able to deal with all kinds of people. Whether it is the partners involved or the tradesperson who will work on implementing the building project, the architect will encounter a large number of professional partners in the course of the project. When a large number of people are working on a project, a high level of successful teamwork is required. Architecture is an attractive profession not only because of the creative design possibilities, but also because there are so many different challenges [73]. Leadership is not only an interpersonal influence, exercised in situations and directed through the communication process, but also consist of more than being an administrator or a manager. Orchestrating the totality of the enterprise with creativity traits of passion for work, independence, goal setting, originality, flexibility, wide range of interests, intelligence and creativity and motivation is effective leadership [74]. If members of the design team do not trust and believe in the owner, the fact of being the owner is not enough to ensure effective team leadership. Charismatic leaders are not widespread in construction-related organizations, but examples found, particularly among architectural practices [4].

Leadership is significant when conflicts occur during the design process. The design project team, as do all working groups, goes through various social action phases. Expectant politeness often marks the initial phase, because the team members tend to be excited, curious and keen to get to know each other better. There may be professional and personal conflicts. In confrontations and tension, people should never lose their objectivity: the architect can be required to be a mediator as well as a coordinator. In this orientation phase, it is necessary to reach the mutual understanding that everyone is working towards the same goal, and this is achieved only by working together and maintaining respectful forms of interaction and behavior. Thus, the design project team can work effectively, powerfully and purposefully towards realizing the project aim. Therefore, it is an essential part of the architect’s work, along with effective project management, to direct the planning team with this end clearly in sight, and without it, the planning team may lose sight of its goals [73]. It is necessary to unite the team members around the team objectives. It is not easy to create trust among team members and focus them on team objectives. If the personal objectives of every team member is united with the team objectives, the members will be more eager to achieve the team objectives. It is the leader of the team, who will find solutions to problems. One of the necessities for improving the performance of the project that the leader architect should carry out is uniting the employees around the team objectives. As is true for all groups, it is important for the members of the design teams to trust and believe in their leadership and for the leader to be true to his or her stated values and beliefs. Effective leadership will be lacking when authenticity is lacking [75]. An architectural firm’s owner is the formal leader of the design team and the lead architect’s behaviors is a main contributor to the performance of the architectural design team.

In most design firms and other knowledge-based or project-based organizations, it is a common practice that leaders, supervisors and managers are appointed based on their technical expertise and not on their leadership skills. In an empirical model for design consultants, Cheung et al. [76] suggested the use of charismatic and participative leadership behaviors by design team leaders. Participative leadership behaviors include the use of appropriate delegation, value and reward constructive alternatives, to encourage participation from design team members, while charismatic leadership includes behavior that act as role model for the subordinates and enables them to feel proud to affiliate with team [76].


5. Effects of negative leadership on the performance of architectural design teams

Benson and Hogan [77] stated that bad leadership inevitably lead to long-term problems and dysfunctional performance, although result in short-term performance is success. Bad or negative leadership has consistence adverse effects on followers, in terms of job satisfaction, affective commitment and psychological well-being [77, 78, 79]. Over the long-term, negative behaviors destroys the ability of people to work together productively in an organization. Leaders affect the performance of individuals, groups and the organization through the work climate that they create. The discussion around the negative leadership tended to narcissism, which clearly recognized as an individual trait. Higgs [80] found Narcissism, similarly, has a negative impact on the internal climate and thus could have an adverse effect on long-term performance outcomes.

In construction industry, teams are the primary unit, and a construction project of any scale can never realize without a team of people with diverse skills and knowledge created and operate together. When team performance improved, the performance of the industry and the project improved. A project team in the construction industry is group of construction professionals and personnel from one or more organizations. Teamwork is prerequisite for the successful delivery of construction projects and the project team come together to fulfill the necessary design, detailing and construction functions involved in the project. When the projects grow more complex technically, organizationally and contractually, team effort more required. Pectas and Putlar [81] declared that a successfully management of design is critical to quality, cost-effectiveness and timelines of projects with regard to design teams. Arditi and Gunaydın [82] found that collaboration among parties ranked first among the many factors that affect quality in design phase. Good team working practices in design organizations is important in order to enhance the performance of the projects [83].

The success of the project depends on the performance of each group. Architects are leaders of both the architectural design team and the design team. As the leader of both groups, the relationship between the leader architect and the groups directly related to the project’s success. First, an architect is the leader of an architectural design team, and conversely, an architectural design team’s members are architects. Coordinating design projects, structural projects and service systems projects is the responsibility of the architect as the team leader. In the design team, the architect is the leader of a team whose members are from different fields and the leader expected to unite them around team objectives, to create an atmosphere that enables team members to perform better. The leadership style of the design team leader affects the productivity of the design team and therefore performance of the construction project. The leadership of an architect is naturally required in all the phases of construction during the interaction of the architect with these different teams and individuals. An architect must not only be a designer, but must also have the ability to coordinate and lead different parts of the construction team. Building projects performed by a design team and the architecture team is a member of that team. The design team members include the architecture team, structural design team and service systems design teams. There are different teams working on plumbing, air conditioning, electricity, central heating and cooling for the design of service systems. Coordinating architectural projects, structural projects and service systems projects is the responsibility of the architect as the team leader. This complicated coordination process requires an effective leadership, hence when the number of teams increases and the members of the teams are from different fields, an effective leadership is a key to solve the disputes.

Leadership and power important are fundamental and intimately related. They are culturally dependent behavioral characteristics with extensive consequences for organization success, performance, and, ultimately survival. Although, leadership and power are separate and individual constructs, each of which merits separate examination to foster appreciation of their operational variables as well as the interactions between them. National and organizational culture underpin both power and leadership, and thus determine the contexts and international environments in which they exercised. Sometimes it becomes a necessity-evolving environment, which means suggesting changes in power structuring and leadership roles within project organizations and so the organizational cultures of constituent firms are likely to respond to those dynamic forces [84]. Leader architect is the owner of the office most of the time, have legitimate power. Sometimes, since the leader is the boss, use coercive power. However, probably, power is more affective among the employee architects, if the leader has expert power. When she/he is a well-known architect, successful in most of the projects, architects can have expert power easily; it becomes easier for them to an affective leader. Cultural differences can result different behaviors on the team members. Tepper [85] declared that the practice of hard influence tactics can be perceived abusive supervision and abusive supervision might be more common in a culture with a higher power distance than in one with a lower power distance. Abusive supervision is among the many negative leadership concepts and can be harmful to organizations and their members. Hu et al. [86] measured equivalence/invariance of the abusive supervision measure across workers from Taiwan and the United States, and investigated whether or not employees from different countries, Taiwan and the United States, differ in their conceptualization of abusive supervision and in the calibration of their responses to the abusive supervision measure. In societies with strong traditional values such as Taiwan, workers have a higher tolerance towards abusive supervisor. This may be explained with supervisors tend to have a high level of authority and experience fewer restrictions on how they treat lower ranking individuals, and additionally subordinates have little or no authority expected to accept and rationalize supervisory behaviors even if the may regarded as abusive [86]. Liu and Fang [9] stated that performance-oriented leadership has a direct effect on project team performance, and does not rely on motivation and power sharing. Managers’ behaviors affect team members’ performance indirectly and their extrinsic and intrinsic motivation towards achievement of the goals [9].

Architecture is a profession that requires creativity, and not only the leader architects but also members of the architectural design team required to be creative. Creativity seeks out new work and novel ideas related to developing new opportunities [87]. Hence, seeking new opportunities forces employees to disagree with leader [88], supportive behavior of leader to perform a non-routine role of creativity is important for the employees [89]. There is a negative relationship between controlling/authoritative leadership and employee creativity at workplace [65, 66, 67, 68]. According to Tierney et al. [90], leaders are an important facet of the work context for creativity. Leaders are not only models for employees, they are also in charge of evaluating subordinate’s performance, assigning tasks, recommending candidates for higher positions and distributing resources [91]. Thereby, subordinates, especially in high power distance countries, should be more likely to admire their leader’s advantages and then devote more attentions to observe their behaviors, in the virtue of the power held by leaders. Therefore, it is rational to presume that the employees can improve their creativity by observing the leader’s creative behaviors [92]. Andrews and Farris [93] found that the leaders’ technical skills were the best predictor of the group members’ creative performance. Mumford et al. [94] reported that the leaders’ creative problem solving skills reported to related to the creative performance of the subordinates. A considerable effect on the employee’s creativity emerged from the leader’s cognitive style [90] and witnessing the leader’s creativity facilitate the enhancement of the employee’s creativity [92]. Weymes [95] declared that the success of organizations vested in the formation of sustainable relationships, with the primary purpose of leadership to influence the feelings and emotions of those associated with the organization. It is not difficult to create a harmonious family-like organization, since an organization is no more than a group of people comes together for a specific performance and their interactions dictate performance. Through honesty, openness and integrity, an environment of comfort, fairness and trust will emerge thus it will be possible to create a successful organization. The chemistry that generates the essence of a sustainable and successful organization is a calm coordinated environment that portrays an atmosphere of trust and harmony, where individual passions merge to create intensity and invincibility where anything is possible, when action and awareness merge, when there is total concentration on the task and time passes unnoticed [95].

Tang et al. [96] aimed to examine the relationship between 360° assessment of leadership derailment factors and leadership effectiveness, differences across position-levels and impact of self-other agreement. Since, derailed managers can engender a negative impact at the individual, team and organizational levels, such leaders do not build cohesive teams, or achieve desired business results, windless the morale of coworkers, and fail to meet business objectives. According to Tang et al. [96], derailed managers and executives shared one and more of the following characteristics, such as having problems with interpersonal relationships; failed to effectively hire, build and lead teams; experienced difficulty to adapt or change; failed to meet business objectives; and/or possessed too narrow of a functional orientation [96]. Architectural design is a complicated process and failure of the design process, means failure of the construction process. Hence, success of the construction depends on a successful design process. A successful process of construction begins with a successful architectural design process. Since, architectural design process carried by the design team, success of the team depends on the performance of the architectural design team. Most of the time, when managerial skills of the leader architect are not as good as his/her architectural qualifications team performance can affect negatively. The key problem is architectural qualifications not enough to motive the team members through the objectives of the team, the success of the project and unite personal objectives of the team members with the team objectives. When the leader architect is the owner of the office, leader have the legitimate power, but when the leader architect is a well-known architect, architectural qualifications of the leader architect help the leader architect have the expert power.

Cheung et al. [76] suggested the use of charismatic and participative leadership behaviors by design team leaders. Their results found that charismatic and participative leadership behaviors as the most critical leadership behaviors as far as satisfaction are concerned. Charismatic leadership behavior includes acting as a role model for the subordinates and enables them to feel proud to affiliate with team. Nevertheless, when the leader use coercive power, the team members affected negatively. Participative leadership behavior includes the use of appropriate delegation, value and reward constructive alternatives, to encourage, participation from design team members. It is significant for the success of the project that the design team leaders should make every endeavor to set a good example in team working to the other members and provide the design team members with more opportunities to participate throughout the design process [97]. Architecture is a profession that involves not only team working, but also individuality. Most of the architects do not like to share responsibility of design. In architectural design teams, participation means designing with the team and sharing responsibility of design with the team. Most of the time, employee architects are not satisfied with their job, when they do not participate in design. In architectural design teams, there may be different results, when there is an effective leader on the positive side, or when there is a leader on the negative side. Most of the time leaders of architectural design teams are not aware of the serious results of their behaviors, even their leadership role in the teams. Most of the time unaware of their negative behaviors, they affect negatively the performance of their teams. Since, most of the team members are young architects; the results of their negative behaviors can become serious than predicted.

Negative leadership behaviors can cause demotivation; especially since the fragmented nature of design, tasks require a competent team leader to manage various tasks among design team members. Oyedele [97] citing Cheung et al. [76] highlighted that if design team members are not satisfied with their team leader, the morale of a design team can adversely affected. Being ruthless, asocial (self-centered), irritable (malevolent), loner (self-centered), egocentric, non-explicit (face-saver), non-cooperative (malevolent) and dictatorial (autocratic) contribute to inept leadership behavior that causes demotivation to employees. Inadequate leadership support, lack of open interaction between superior and subordinates, display of no interest in subordinates’ work and non-recognition of effort, lack of synergy between organizational goals and leadership behaviors and changing project priorities by supervisors are other relevant criteria. According to the findings of Toor and Ogunlana [28], both negative personal attributes and organizational impediments or neutralizers can be detrimental to the effectiveness of leadership in construction projects. Wrongful use of power, poor ability to communicate, lack of experience and lack of ability to control complex circumstances are among negative personal attributes. Organizational impediments or neutralizers are such as lack of resources, lack of planning and control, lack of strategic management and lack of top management support. Therefore, it is important to not only develop the positive personal attributes of leadership in project managers, but also pay attention to reducing the factors that negatively affect their performance and effectiveness [28].

Leader of the architectural design team is not only responsible for the success, but also failure of the projects. When the team members do not trust and believe in their leader, the leader cannot manage the team effectively. Architectural design involves creativity and affective teamwork. It is the leader who create productive working environment. Since, architectural design process involves creativity, and creativity of the team members are affected by their emotional state, depending on the behavior of the leader architect, the performance and productivity of the team can be affected negatively. When the team members do not motivate, and share team objectives as their own objectives, or do not combine their personal objectives with the team objectives, the project success will be affected negatively. Sometimes ruthless, egocentric, irritable behaviors of leaders or personality characteristics will affect negatively the success of the project. It is possible; also, team members lose their desire and motivation to work, sometimes instead of working they may prefer to look for alternative jobs. Negative leadership behaviors within an organization can cause demotivation among the design team members. A competent team leader is required to manage various tasks among design team members, because of the fragmented nature of design tasks [97].


6. Conclusion

Although leadership has always been a popular topic in every field, a growing interest and a broad range of discussions continued on the subject in recent years. The focus of the studies was its positive effects on the performance of the teams. Effective team management becomes important in architectural design teams, since the design process is complex and involves creativity. Architecture, as a profession involve creativity, although depending on the national and organizational culture of the team, behaviors of leader architects may change, but when the behaviors of their leader affect negatively, it is inevitable that their performance and success of the project is affected negatively. The importance of leadership, styles or behaviors of leaders, the relationship of motivation, trust, power or culture are all attract attention. Effective leadership needed to enable effective team management. Leadership style of the architectural design team leader can affect the performance of the team and productivity negatively. If architects do not aware of their negative behaviors, sometimes they do not aware of the negative results of their behaviors, especially the negative effects on the performance of the team.

© 2018 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Esin Kasapoğlu (March 21st 2018). Negative Leadership in Architectural Design Offices, Dark Sides of Organizational Behavior and Leadership, Maria Fors Brandebo and Aida Alvinius, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.75445. Available from:

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