Culture clash and cultural confirmation: Swedish – Chinese encounters on a Sustainable building scene
Paper i proceeding, 2017

Studies on globalisation often focus on large multinational companies and their strategic options for expansion. However, statistics show, that also small and mediumsized companies are increasingly able to internationalise and do so. In a construction setting this is often related to participation or even initiation of building projects. In particular, Swedish building companies have a potential competitive advantage in the booming market for sustainable building, energy efficiency and energy renovation. This paper studies two cases of Chinese sustainable building projects in the Beijing region where a small Swedish consultancy company participate. The main aim is to study how culture influence in two selected energy efficiency building projects involving Swedish and Chinese partners?The framework of understanding draws primarily on culture theory, yet also more indirectly on small business, organization and management theories. The method is based on interview and project documents. Interviews is done with representatives from Swedish and Chinese companies collaborating in two Chinese projects. One project is creating new office premises for a Chinese client, the other is a green hotel project. Both projects are designed, build according to EU green building norms and also eventually obtain this certificate. The projects are interrelated and can be seen as first a potential niche, second a (larger) market for the Swedish company in China.Cultural similarities and differences transcend national distinctions and extend into company cultures related to the companies’ different roles in the project. The pattern found is thus more of a multiple configuration of cultures than a dual culture clash. Nation, company and sector cultures interact and certain culturally based interpretations serve to confirm existing understanding of sustainable building projects. It is discussed how small companies are constrained by their cultural ballast, cultural capital. They continually base decisions on situational judgment within frames posited by their cultures, limited resources and network dependencies.




sustainable housing



Christian Koch

Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Construction Management


Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Construction Management


Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Construction Management

Buser M., Lindahl G. & Räisänen C. (eds), Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization. Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenborg

9788750211259 (ISBN)


Hållbar utveckling


Building Futures (2010-2018)





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