Unfolding roles and identities of professionals in construction projects: Exploring the informality of practices
Journal article, 2009
Using a practice lens perspective, the environmental professional's role is examined in relation to social practices in construction projects. Drawing on several case studies of environmental management, the findings show that contradictory practices prevent environmental professionals from fulfilling their expected role and function. Different world‐views and communication cultures as well as a perception of environmental management as bureaucratic nit‐picking, create tensions between environmental work and project practice. Dealing with these tensions, environmental professionals develop alternative identities to adapt to the different situations that they find themselves in, i.e. formal roles in accordance with their job description and informal roles to suit different project practices. However, this strategy seems to result in further fragmentation between existing practices, creating barriers between professions. The study reveals four aspects that affect the professional's role: relational and positional power, professional identity, visibility, and the facilitation of meaning‐making processes in the project context. The research approach taken has created an opportunity to closely follow the development of an emerging profession in construction, opening a window that allows connecting a local and situational context to a wider societal discourse of environmentalism.