Understanding the types of people and the effects of group composition in collective development project workshops in real estate and construction sector

Marika Latvala

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


This research began with the understanding that the desired change in common practices of the stakeholders is challenging to execute in the real estate and construction sector in Finland. The premise is that the desired change through collective development projects that aim to develop common practices can happen when we have the right kind of group and support structures. Therefore, this research aims to address the following questions: 1) How do the participants in a collective development project behave during group work? And, what are the types of people participating? 2) What is a productive small group composition, where a productive group is a group which gets the work done, and has results to share? 3) Do support structures such as trust, commitment, control, communication and cooperation facilitate these projects? This research was done as a qualitative study. Data was collected using observations and interviews from four different projects (between years 2015-2017) of one case organization, which facilitates collective development project. The research was done as action research. The researcher was part of the facilitator's crew in these projects, and developed the process in other cases based on the results of the first case. Folk psychology was used as the analytical framework. To identify the types of participants, the data was analyzed using a coding, that was developed as a part of this research, based on the behavioral attributes found in the literature. Short transcripts from audio- and videotapes were used to analyze the groups, and short transcripts from the interviews were used to describe support structures. Several ways, such as a colleague's observations, two questionnaires, and interviews in Australia, were used to validate the results of the research.As a result, the participants of the projects can be clustered into different types: 1) Opinionated Speakers, 2) Empathetic Leaders, 3) Active Respondents, 4) Passive Respondents, and 5) Listeners. A productive group has at least one leader and one or more active respondent to support a balanced discussion. Support structures such as mentioned above (Q3) will facilitate the collective development project. A theoretical contribution of the study is the extension of the theories of types of people, group dynamics and group formation, and make them more understandable and acceptable for people who do not have a background in psychology by using elements and aspects of folk psychology. In addition, this research extends these theories into collective development projects. Practical contributions for the real estate and construction sector are: 1) Behavioral attributes with explanations – tool for clustering group members into types, 2) Recommendations for facilitators on how to use different types of people to form groups, 3) Recommendations for facilitators to invite participants for a project, 4) Improved process of collective development projects.
Translated title of the contributionIhmisten tyyppien ja ryhmän kokoonpanon vaikutuksen ymmärtäminen yhteisten kehityshankkeiden työpajoissa kiinteistö- ja rakennusalalla
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Singh, Vishal, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8567-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8568-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • types
  • group formation
  • change
  • collective development projects


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