Peer Pressure

Leadership: Side by Side


It is a cliché in parenting that “peer pressure” has more impact on a child’s conduct than all the teachers, parents, and authority figures combined. Let’s face it. Your buddies could convince you to try things. Your principal was just a nice old man who, by and large, was better off kept in the dark. That was probably what your relationships looked like when you were young and recent research into organizational behavior in the construction industry tells us the same dynamic is still at play now that you’re an adult engaged in business.

Project-Based Industries


Project-based industries such as research and development, construction, and software development differ from traditional manufacturing in that both the project teams and the products the teams create are new.This insight inspired research into the factors that make new teams successful. (A successful project is defined as a quality project which is on-time and profitable.)

Construction Project Success Data


In the past, most project-based construction organizations have focused their efforts on “tasks” and “results” with little attention given to “people factors”. In the construction industry, however, more than half of the projects fail to finish within the scheduled time and budget.

  • 48% of projects are not finished within the scheduled time.
  • 43% of projects are not finished within their original budget
  • 31% of projects don’t meet the original goals and business intent.

People Factors


When looking at factors contributing to project success, research within project-based industries has revealed that more than technical factors, the so-called “people factors”determine the success or failure of projects. The purpose of this new research from the ASU school of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment is to address this least understood aspect of project management, focusing on the interpersonal relationships of PMs and assistant PMs with their stakeholders ( boss, mentor, peer, direct report, external customer, vendor, subcontractor, other employees working in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms, government, and owner clients).


Special Interpersonal Relationships in Project-Based Organizations

Mohammed Houssein Khoshchehreh Jamali, April 2019, Simplar Institute


This research presents the results of a quantitative study of the interpersonal relationships of 327 project managers and assistant project managers in their workplace. Specifically, the study investigates if the quality of the relationship with particular stakeholders, such as one’s immediate supervisor (boss), peers, or subordinates, drives the individual’s quality of the relationship with other stakeholders.



Contrary to the expectations, in strictly hierarchical organizations (one direct supervisor), there is no significant correlation between the quality of relationships with the boss and the overall quality of the individual’s relationships. However, in the case of matrix organizations (two or three bosses), there are significant correlations between several variables such as the quality of the relationship, perceived importance and the time spent with each stakeholder, as well the inclination of the participant towards leadership actions. The driving relationship in matrix organizations is the one with “the most important peer”.

Peer Pressure – Leading Alongside


This new research presents significant data to support the conclusion that it’s indeed not the boss that impacts the quality of your performance, but rather the colleagues and other members of the team who inspire and encourage you to do your level best to accomplish the team’s shared goals. Take a look at the full research paper here on the site to get a deeper understanding of exactly how “peer pressure” exerts powerful leadership in project-based endeavors.

Read More:  Simplar