The people side of sustainability transition

Navigation toward the change

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People are the main asset of a consultancy firm, and a Project Manager is a key figure in the delivery of projects. Change Management theories suggest that the success of change efforts relies on three components: Leadership, Project Management and Change Management. Therefore, successful sustainability implementation depends significantly on the performance of a Project Manager, how well they are equipped with the knowledge about sustainability and supported with tools and internal processes. But first of all, how well they are aware of the importance of sustainability for the organisation and how strong their intention to implement the changes is.
The project manager, as an enabler of sustainability in a construction project, can contribute to the construction industry to meet sustainable development goals. To facilitate the process of sustainability implementation and create opportunities for action, more knowledge is required about current drivers and barriers for the project managers. This research investigated these drivers and barriers utilising behavioural theories.
Main results
The research design used a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The literature and organisational documents were used to study the current state of sustainability implementation in theory and practice, and at the same time, several exploratory interviews were conducted. DINAMO survey identified which barriers PM specialists encounter during project delivery. Four main barriers resulted from the survey:
• Complexity of the change
• Lack of Information
• Lack of Involvement
• Manageability of the change
Main conclusions
The study has indicated three points that can help to translate sustainability into project execution.
First, the research has shown the importance of the strategic context. Explanation of the strategic goals and their alignment with other organisational goals plays an essential role in strategy implementation.
Second, it has been concluded from the study that project management practices require significant revisions. Being a key figure in the project, PM must enable opportunities for sustainable goals. Sustainable goals should be inseparable from the project’s success, and the integration of these goals must be facilitated by sustainability leadership.
Third, the study has disclosed that the behavioural control and intention of project managers to change play a significant role in the implementation of sustainability in projects. Behaviour is directly dependent on the working environment created by strategic settings. It is, therefore, a closed loop in which strategic settings influence the behaviour, and behaviour can provide valuable information to re-adjust the strategic settings.