Barriers to sustainable construction project management: the case of Iran

Fathalizadeh, Ali, Hosseini, Mohammad Reza, Vaezzadeh, Seyyed Saeed, Edwards, David J, Martek, Igor and Shooshtarian, Salman 2021, Barriers to sustainable construction project management: the case of Iran, Smart and sustainable built environment, pp. 1-23, doi: 10.1108/SASBE-09-2020-0132.

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Title Barriers to sustainable construction project management: the case of Iran
Author(s) Fathalizadeh, Ali
Hosseini, Mohammad RezaORCID iD for Hosseini, Mohammad Reza
Vaezzadeh, Seyyed Saeed
Edwards, David J
Martek, IgorORCID iD for Martek, Igor
Shooshtarian, Salman
Journal name Smart and sustainable built environment
Start page 1
End page 23
Total pages 23
Publisher Emerald Publishing Limited
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2021-02-18
ISSN 2046-6099
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Green & Sustainable Science & Technology
Sustainable construction
Project management
Developing countries
Summary Purpose The barriers to integrating sustainable practices into construction project management require extensive resource allocations to resolve. Within developing countries such as Iran (where resources are scarce), remedial strategies adopted must prioritise tackling those barriers that can be expected to yield maximum return on investment. The candidate barriers are many, and this paper aims to identify a hierarchy of barriers, providing a priority list of remedial targets. Design/methodology/approach A mixed philosophical stance of interpretivism and post-positivism is adopted within a deductive approach and survey strategy. A list of 30 known barriers are identified from extant literature and used to formulate a questionnaire data collection instrument administered within the Iranian construction industry. Data collected from 176 practitioners are analysed using the relative importance index and Mann–Whitney U test to compare groups based on the participants' demographic variables. Findings The findings challenge the common assumption that items related to market and workforce experience are major inhibitors of change. That is, economics and regulatory dependent barriers have a higher impact on the failure of a shift to sustainable practices in Iran. The most influential barriers to incorporating sustainability in construction projects are: (1) lack of understanding of the potential benefits; (2) insufficient cooperation among practitioners, research institutions and environmental organisations; and (3) a lack of a systematic approach to pursuing sustainability goals. No significant associations are detected between the affiliation of the respondents and their attitude towards the issue. Thus, a generalised approach can be applied to a broader range of organisations and construction projects in Iran. Originality/value While studies on sustainability impediments at the firm or project level are ubiquitous within literature, this research identifies that the most significant barriers to sustainable project management in Iran, as an underexplored context, are those experienced at the economic and institutional level. Moreover, this novel research presents important insights into the potential effects of participants' demographic profiles on their view of the importance of identified barriers.
Notes Article In-Press
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/SASBE-09-2020-0132
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 12 Built Environment and Design
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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