As business environments become even more competitive, project teams are required to make an effort to operate external linkages from within an organization or across organizational boundaries. Nevertheless, some members boundary-span less extensively, isolating themselves and their project teams from external environments. Our study examines why some members boundary-span more or less through the framework of group attachment theory. Data from 521 project team members in construction and engineering industries revealed that the more individuals worry about their project team's acceptance (group attachment anxiety), the more likely they are to perceive intergroup competition, and thus put more efforts into operating external linkages and resources to help their own teams outperform competitors. In contrast, a tendency to distrust their project teams (group attachment avoidance) generates members' negative construal of their team's external image, and thus fewer efforts are made at operating external linkages. Thus, project leaders and members with high group attachment anxiety may be best qualified for external tasks. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.