Helen Griffen

Helen Griffen

New York, NY, US





The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, Masters, Masters in Engineering

The construction sector is one of the largest and most important in the New Zealand economy, employing over 8% of the workforce. In 2009, a report by the Building and Construction Sector Productivity Taskforce estimates that the sector contributes approximately 5% to New Zealand’s GDP and employs approximately 178,000 people (Dec 2008) which equates to 1 in every 12 in the workforce.

New Zealand’s construction sector has been identified as having poor productivity and the New Zealand treasury has highlighted the need to increase this. The Construction Industry Productivity Taskforce that met in 2009 identified that not only a focus on procurement methods and skills would solve productivity issues but further analysis was required on other factors that effect in performance in the sector.

This Study aimed to analyze teamwork within construction organisations. This research posed the question:

“What facilitates optimal teamwork and labour productivity in construction, and how can New Zealand organisations increase their labour productivity through effective team management?”

The researcher (Miss Helen Griffen) investigated a selection of high performing teams within New Zealand construction organisations. Feedback was being sought from participants in the form of senior management, team leaders and team members. The insight gained will identified what key factors are present in these high performing teams and the management processes used to facilitate high performing behaviour.

It is likely that the team drivers will be dynamic and complex and whilst teamwork has been the subject of significant amounts of research, there appears to have been very little investigation within the specific context of the construction industry. However, it is well known across many industries that teams are capable of outstanding performance and have increasing influence on organisational outcomes.

It is hypothesised that there is a close relationship between team performance and productive work time. For example if a team of engineers are communicating effectively, have clear goals and objectives, and mutual trust their productive output is likely to be greater than a team with poor communication, lack of direction and conflict. Thus a better understanding of team dynamics and productivity in construction organisations and the management methods that facilitate this is required in New Zealand. This research could ultimately lead to the development of a framework from improving teamwork across the entire New Zealand Construction Industry using the studied high performing teams as a benchmark for best practice.

This research project forms part of a collaborative research programme between UoA, Massey and Auckland University of Technology, funded by Building Research Association New Zealand (BRANZ). The programme consists of nine inter-related research projects on the subject of construction productivity. This researcher was awarded the ’Building Research Postgraduate Scholarship Award’ by BRANZ in April 2011 to undertake this project.

Jan 2011 - Jun 2012

The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, GradDip (civil)

Taught Graduate Diploma Program

700 level Papers:

Cost Engineering
Risk Engineering
Project Management 1
Project Management 2
Management for Engineers
Contract Management
Slope Engineering
Engineering geology
Professional and Sustainability Issues

Jan 2010 - Dec 2010

The University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ, Bachelors, BSC (Geology)

Senior Scholar in a Bachelor of Science (Major- Geology)

Jan 2005 - Dec 2008

Areas of Specialization 


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