006 – Exploring Characteristics of Sustainability Stimulus Patterns of Project Managers

Magano, José; Silvius, Gilbert; Silva, Cláudia S.; Leite, Ângela

The role of projects in the transition of organisations towards sustainability is addressed in a growing number of studies, and “sustainable” project management is considered one of the most important project management trends today. As sustainability is a normative concept based on subjective values and beliefs, project managers are bound to experience different stimuli and inhibitors for the consideration of sustainability in their projects. Earlier studies identified three distinct stimulus patterns: Intrinsically motivated, Task-driven, and Pragmatic. However, little is known about these three groups of project managers’ personal and professional characteristics and their work environments. Following up on earlier studies, this paper explores the social-demographic and professional-related characteristics that the three stimulus patterns represent in a quantitative, survey-based study on a sample of 433 project managers. Analyses of descriptive statistics (means, frequencies, and Cronbach’s alpha) and inferential statistics (chi-squared, t test, and ANOVA) were used. The findings of the study support the conclusion that sustainability is a personal trait based upon the individual’s attitude towards sustainability. The study also reveals that the stimulus patterns of project managers significantly differ over industries and types of projects. The study intends to help organisations implement sustainability strategies by deepening their understanding of project managers’ stimulus to consider sustainability in their projects. The study contributes to the emerging knowledge on sustainable project management and specifically to the understanding of stimulus patterns of project managers.

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