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Developing a sustainability assessment tool to aid organisational learning in construction SMEs

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conference contribution
posted on 15.01.2016, 12:12 by James Upstill-Goddard, Jacqui Glass, Andrew Dainty, Ian Nicholson
Organisations engage with sustainability for a number of reasons, often implementing standards to demonstrate commitment to sustainability or benchmark performance. However, many scholars discuss sustainability from an operational or administrative perspective, largely neglecting the role of individuals making up the organisation. Central to organisational development are the learning processes of these individuals and how these translate into organisational learning. Although research into organisational learning is abundant, relatively little is known about how construction organisations, particularly those classified as SMEs, undergo learning processes in order to increase their knowledge. Furthermore, organisational learning requires high absorptive capacities (ACAP) and previous research has linked this with successful standard implementation. SMEs are often pressurised by customers to obtain certification to multiple standards, yet often lack the necessary expertise, and financial and time resources to implement these. This research argues that organisational learning is a key limiting factor in successful sustainability standard implementation. Specifically, the development phase of a sustainability self-assessment tool to identify environmental and social aspects most relevant to an organisation’s operations is presented. Following this, the tool then enables the level of organisational knowledge held about each of these aspects to be determined such that learning approaches are informed to increase learning and knowledge and hence absorptive capacities. The main components of this assessment tool are presented and rules for its operation and development established. Next steps for the assessment framework and suggestions for its applicability to construction product manufacturers are also offered.

Funding

This research forms part of an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programme, sponsored by Responsible Solutions Ltd and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), managed through the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE), based at the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University. The support of all these parties is gratefully acknowledged.

History

School

  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Engineering (CICE)

Published in

Association of Researchers in Construction Management Proceedings of the 31st Annual ARCOM Conference

Volume

31

Issue

1

Pages

457 - 466 (10)

Citation

UPSTILL-GODDARD, J. ... et al., 2015. Developing a sustainability assessment tool to aid organisational learning in construction SMEs. IN: Raiden, A.B. and Aboagye-Nimo, E. (eds). Proceedings of the 31st Annual ARCOM Conference, Lincoln, UK, 7 -9 September, pp. 457 - 466.

Publisher

Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This conference paper was presented at the 31st Annual ARCOM Conference held on the 7th - 9th September 2015, in Lincoln.

ISBN

978-0-9552390-9-0

Language

en

Location

Lincoln