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ARCOM Conferences

36th Annual Conference – Glasgow, UK
7-9 September 2020

Track 7: Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Construction

Lead: Professor Pernilla Gluch and Professor Petra Bosch-Sijtsema, Chalmers University of Technology.

Summary: The entrepreneurial perspective is often missing in presenting a business case for sustainable development in construction. Sustainability entrepreneurs are defined as actors gaining competitive advantage through understanding and utilizing sustainability issues. An objective of this track is to discuss sustainability management through the lens of sustainable entrepreneurship (including strategies, business models and management practices) in organizations operating in the built environment. This track offers a forum to discuss recent developments, results as well as ongoing interdisciplinary research activities in the intersection between construction management, sustainability management, and sustainable entrepreneurship.

Description: The construction industry has recognized the sustainability challenge and currently there are many new managerial and technological initiatives that attempt to cope with the more long-term and holistic view needed. Numerous efforts have been placed on tools to support sustainability measures, for example through EMS, BREEAM, and LEED (Cole and Valdebenito 2013). However, complying with current challenges requires more than instrumental initiatives provided by tools, it also requires fundamental rethinking of contemporary business models, leadership, strategies, organizational culture and practices within the industry. The above aspects are often discussed as barriers towards sustainable development (Andrews and Johnson 2016) but few have researched these in depth or investigated these aspects as driver for sustainable development.

Today the traditional institutional logic of the construction industry is being challenged due to an increased need for new types of sustainability business models, competencies and practices (Hughes and Hughes 2013) as well as new sustainability directives (e.g. SDGs). Knowledge intensive and communicative actors have risen in importance, and new professional groups and companies, such as sustainability consultants, experts, innovators, auditors, coordinators, trainers and strategists, have entered the scene (Gluch and Bosch-Sijtsema 2016). An increased recognition of links between; sustainability and innovation, the role of new types of sustainability actors (SME, consultants and professional networks), strategic business development, sustainability practices and how to utilize the opportunities that market-based sustainability policies provide, points at a need to look at the sustainability entrepreneur. Sustainability entrepreneurs are defined as actors gaining competitive advantage through understanding and utilizing sustainability issues (Schaper 2016). Operating both inwards, outwards and across organizational boundaries these actors introduce a sustainable entrepreneurship that challenge traditional views of construction.

In this track we invite papers that address (but not restricted to) the following questions:


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