Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Decker Bradley Hains

Second Advisor

Dr. Osama Abudayyeh

Third Advisor

Dr. Yufeng Hu

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Bret J. Wagner


Leadership, decision-making, teamwork, construction project managers, simulation software, communication


Leadership, decision-making, and teamwork are crucial in all human endeavors, especially in the construction industry. Decision-making and teamwork are perhaps the most uniquely identifiable skills associated with leadership. Leadership is a critical part of the construction industry because it defines how a person influences others on construction projects to accomplish objectives. The construction sector is facing critical challenges due to the failure of effective leadership skills among leaders in the industry. Ineffective leaders affect the quality of decision-making and teamwork as part of the construction industry, which in turn affects the majority of construction projects’ ability to build to their best capacities for the delivery of quality services. Insufficient mastery of project management principles is a leading cause of time and cost overruns in construction projects. Approaches, such as books and case studies, used in construction managers’ training provide them with minimal skills and competencies. These approaches also fail to create an engaging environment, which can enhance learning for the students. A new model for students’ and engineers’ preparation, centered on improving leadership and decision-making, is called the construction industry’s simulation-based approach. It includes simulation software and teams working in it. Simulation software includes three types of complex scenario levels. Each team consists of one leader and three team members. Participants have three types of experience levels: inexperienced, those with some experience, and expert.

The dissertation includes a pre-simulation survey and a post-simulation survey to measure and evaluate the improvement in leadership and decision-making for participants through using ScrimmageSIM software. The interview is conducted with leaders and team members. This study discusses the results of improving leadership and decision-making and evaluating the simulation sessions. It includes ScrimmageSIM software’s impact on participants’ skills concerning leader-ship and decision-making. Results indicate that the participants found that democratic leadership, which features a high degree of collaboration, is the best style used in the construction industry, according to instruments measured in this study. Simulation experience helps the leaders to delegate responsibility efficiently based on their team members’ capabilities. Results indicated that the simulation experience helps the participants significantly prepare their team, improve decision-making skills, and make decisions faster. Also, it improves participants’ communication and team-work, skills in discussion and exchanging opinions skills to solve problems, dealing efficiently with risk and unexpected events, and enhancing their management knowledge that they can transfer confidently to the real workplaces. Simulation experience provides the participants with a competitive, suitable, entertaining, and risk-free environment. The participants found the simulation experience more engaging than traditional education and the simulation helped them begin thinking like professionals by considering the essential tasks that can cover a wide range of tasks. Simulations should be integrated with a wide range of learning courses at different education levels to reduce the gap between theory and practice and increase educational quality.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until