Understanding the dynamics of construction design team meetings through joint laughter

Ponton, Hazel, Osbourne, Allan, Greenwood, David and Thompson, Neill (2018) Understanding the dynamics of construction design team meetings through joint laughter. In: ARCOM 2018: 34th Annual Conference - A Productive Relationship: Balancing Fragmentation and Integration, 3rd - 5th September 2018, Belfast, UK.

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Official URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/archive/2018-Indexed-...


Joint laughter in meetings is an all too familiar occurrence; yet, it has received little attention to try and understand its underlying meaning. The role and effect of joint or collective laughter are examined in the context of the design team meetings for a case study construction project. Such meetings, which are standard practice in the UK construction industry, are the face-to-face communication mechanism for group decision-making involving the client, design, and construction teams during the design development phase of contractor design-led projects. The importance of the design phase to the overall success of a project is well-documented. Design team meetings provide a venue to facilitate successful group collaboration and promote the integration of ideas between sub-teams. The social and task-related interactions of the group dynamic need to be recognised, understood, and evaluated for meetings to be directed productively. A 360° panoramic video-recording camera was used to gather data from three consecutive design team meetings during a live construction project when adopting a non-participant observation technique. Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software was used to structure and interpret packets of rich data focused on critical incidents (involving joint laughter) that occurred during the design team meetings. Results show that instances of laughter do not happen at random but at specific times in meetings when they perform distinct functions. These functions include, amongst other things, the building of an effective team-working environment. Ultimately, group collaboration and integration may be improved if team leaders and members recognise the importance of joint laughter and the part it plays to create an inclusive working environment, foster collegiality, and improve decision-making.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Collaboration, Construction design, Group dynamics, Laughter
Subjects: C800 Psychology
N200 Management studies
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 13:08
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 18:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/36687

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