Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/116696
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Type: Journal article
Title: Dynamic interactions between sustainability and competitiveness in construction firms: a transition perspective
Author: Chang, R.
Zuo, J.
Soebarto, V.
Zhao, Z.
Zillante, G.
Citation: Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 2017; 24(5):842-859
Publisher: Emerald Publishing
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0969-9988
1365-232X
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Rui-Dong Chang, Jian Zuo, Veronica Soebarto, Zhen-Yu Zhao, George Zillante
Abstract: Purpose – Sustainability and competitiveness have received extensive attentions. Despite a large number of studies on sustainability and competitiveness in the construction industry, little research has been conducted to holistically explore the interactions between these two concepts. From a dynamic transition perspective, the purpose of this paper is to link sustainability and competitiveness of construction firms by developing a Sustainability-Competitiveness Dynamic Interaction Framework (SCDIF). Design/methodology/approach – Conceptual theory-building approach was adopted to develop the conceptual framework. It is an iterative analysis and synthesis process, which involves reading literature, identifying commonalities and differences, synthesizing, proposing an initial framework, collecting additional literature, and revisiting and revising the framework. Findings – There are complex interactions between sustainability and competitiveness of construction firms. This leads to uncertain relationships between sustainability and competitiveness, which is context dependent. Under evolving economic and socio-political environments, sustainability and competitiveness of construction firms could transition from mutually exclusive to mutually supportive, and finally merge into “sustainable competitiveness.” Research limitations/implications – A SCDIF proposed in this study demonstrates that the interactions between sustainability and competitiveness evolves according to the evolving economic and socio-political environments and firms’ strategies, and thus the relationships and interactions between sustainability and competitiveness are context dependent. This framework helps corporate managers to understand how corporate sustainability and competitiveness interact with each other, thereby informing their decision-making of sustainability strategy. Similarly, the framework provides useful references for policymakers to understand the mechanisms of transitioning industries toward sustainable competitiveness. Originality/value – The proposed framework offers a new perspective for understanding sustainability and competitiveness. From the dynamic transition perspective, this study effectively illustrates that the interactions between sustainability and competitiveness evolves according to the evolving economic and socio-political environments and firms’ strategies. Compared to existing approaches, the dynamic and holistic approach proposed in this paper provides the capacity to capture the complexity of sustainability and competitiveness.
Keywords: Competitiveness; sustainability; construction industry; transition; conceptual framework; theory building
Rights: © Emerald Publishing Limited
RMID: 0030076175
DOI: 10.1108/ECAM-01-2016-0025
Appears in Collections:Architecture publications

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