Taking lead for sustainability: Environmental managers as institutional entrepreneurs
Övrigt konferensbidrag, 2020

This paper aims to identify critical events that have affected the professionalization process of environmental
sustainability professionals in the Swedish Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. Based
on a phenomenological study of eight experienced environmental managers’ life stories, the findings describe
how they have actively engaged in the development of the institutionalization of a profession; and in bringing
environmental practice into construction project management practice. The findings also indicate how environmental
sustainability professionals’ agency has been closely interrelated to the sustainability discourse in
society. The implication of this is twofold, on the one hand it serves as a way of initiating institutional change
towards enhanced sustainability, on the other hand it causes frustration when agency to act is challenged or
temporarily ‘lost’ because of a discerning discourse in society. This implies that their ability to act for sustainable
change has typically revolved around ‘one issue at a time’ as a result of a unilateral sustainability focus.
Their agency has, however, revived over time as the environmental managers continuously work to create and
establish environmental sustainability practice. This paper contributes with a better understanding of environmental
sustainability professionals’ roles and agency in shaping the pace and direction of an environmental
sustainability agenda; something that is needed sooner rather than later in times of climate change and of
realizing the UN SDGs. However, more empirical studies are needed to fully understand how environmental
sustainability professionals are received and established within the AEC industry.


Stina Månsson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

Pernilla Gluch

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

The 26th annual International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) conference
Budapest, Hungary,


Hållbar utveckling


Tvärvetenskapliga studier


Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap

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