Creating an environmental sustainability profession
Licentiatavhandling, 2021

The purpose of this thesis it to problematize the professionalization processes of environmental sustainability roles by studying how professionals in the Swedish AEC industry actively participate in the continuous creation of an environmental sustainability profession. This is done by investigating how the role of environmental sustainability professionals, as carriers and executers of an environmental sustainability agenda, has developed since the early 1990s, and how they are maintaining a momentum for environmental sustainability practice.

The research builds on the view of professions as a ‘shared doing in practice’. The practice is captured through a micro-level institutional perspective, which allows for studying professionalization processes as the institutional work of environmental sustainability professionals as they seek to establish themselves and environmental sustainability practice in the industry.

The research for this thesis is based on a qualitative research design. In-depth interviews with 30 environmental sustainability professionals were conducted, which enabled a more detailed study on what they do in practice and how they have perceived the development of their role.

Three papers are included. The findings show how environmental sustainability professionals have engaged in institutional entrepreneurship and in the creation of an environmental sustainability profession. They do so by adopting different strategies and by creating hybrid institutional logics that they learn to navigate within, depending on the situation and with whom they are interacting. This thesis contributes to both theory and practice. For theory it provides rich empirical examples of professionalization processes of environmental sustainability. For practice, it analyses and problematizes the role, which supports the future development of an environmental sustainability profession.

Environmental sustainability


environmental managers

AEC industry.

hybrid institutional logics

environmental sustainability professionals

professionalisation processes

Opponent: Christina Claeson-Jonsson


Stina Månsson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics


Hållbar utveckling


Tvärvetenskapliga studier

Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap

Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning





Opponent: Christina Claeson-Jonsson

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