Sustainability transition of the Chinese construction industry: Practices and behaviors of the leading construction firms

Rui Dong Chang*, Jian Zuo, Veronica Soebarto, Zhen Yu Zhao, George Zillante, Xiao Long Gan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


Because of various economic, social, and environmental challenges, the Chinese construction industry is under tremendous pressure to transition to a sustainability orientation. Existing studies have extensively explored the technological innovations of environmental sustainability within the Chinese construction industry. In contrast, very little attention has been paid to a holistic exploration of the economic and social dimensions related to sustainability, or to the sustainability strategies and behaviors of construction firms in China. From the perspective of sustainability transition, this paper analyzes the sustainability practices and strategic sustainability behaviors of three leading construction firms in China based on three case study firms. Twenty-nine aspects of sustainability practice implemented by the studied firms are identified. The evolution of the strategic sustainability behaviors exhibited by the three firms and the strengths and weaknesses of their sustainability practices are also critically analyzed. The results reveal that the studied firms present different strategic sustainability behaviors, and that practices toward environmental sustainability are weak compared with practices toward economic and social sustainability. Potential measures to facilitate sustainability transition of the Chinese construction industry are also discussed. This study helps industry practitioners to gain a better understanding of sustainability practices and behaviors of leading construction firms in China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04016006
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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