This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Problem-Solving Styles in the Southeast Construction Industry




Farrow, Charles Benjamin

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The construction industry has undergone significant changes in recent decades: new project delivery methods, cyber-trek projects, increased complexity of buildings and systems, increased prefabrication, advancing technology and new types of teams and organizations (Brandt, 1993; Farrow & Mouton, 2010; Spence, 2006; Sznewajs & Moore, 2013). At the same time, education and training of construction employees to meet these demands has been evolving. Special efforts have been made to identify key skills and attributes the builder of today must have. One of these key skills is the ability to be an effective problem solver within the construction industry (Ahn, Pearce, & Kwon, 2012; Wiezel & Badger, 2015). Little is known about problem solving within the context of construction education. This descriptive study seeks to examine the problem-solving styles of construction professionals in an effort to expand the available literature on problem solving within the built environment (N = 151). By knowing more about the preferred problem-solving styles, construction education and training may be improved to enhance personal learning and group performance in teams. The VIEW: An Assessment of Problem-Solving Style was utilized in this study. The VIEW assessment measures one’s preferred problem-solving style preferences on three dimensions: Orientation to Change (OC), Manner of Processing (MP), and Ways of Deciding (WD) (Selby, Treffinger, & Isaksen, 2002) . One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and cross tabulations were used in an analysis of the data. Construction professionals tended to prefer a Developer style in the OC dimension and a Task style in the WD dimension at a stronger level than the larger population. Independent variables of job description, years of experience, time of project engagement, and level of education were also examined. Significant differences were found on the MP and WD dimensions based on the time of project engagement. No other significant differences were found.