Management of Sustainability : Leadership Styles and Promotion of Sustaianbility in the Construction Industry

University essay from Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan

Abstract: Sustainability has recently received an increased level of attention across all sectors over the world, the construction industry is no exception. This industry is one of the most complex and dynamic sectors. Consequently, promotion of sustainability within the construction industry is a leadership challenge that requires a unique leadership style. Existing literature has been focusing on leadership and sustainability that have been investigated separately with little rigorous research regarding the linkage between these two concepts in the management research. It has been noticed that all these studies were within national and specific contexts. The promotion of sustainability varies from one country to another due to the fact that each country has its own climatic conditions, cultural patterns, and traditional settlements. The present study investigates how leadership styles of leaders in construction firms shape the promotion of sustainability in two different contexts. A multiple case study was applied, and data was collected through conducting interviews with twenty managers charged with the promotion of sustainability in Sweden and Saudi Arabia to fulfil the research purpose by adopting a qualitative research approach. The MLQ model was used to identify the participants’ leadership styles. Furthermore, the United Nations Global Compact framework was used to segment the cases in terms of the promotion of sustainability. The study concludes that two of the identified leadership styles do not work similarly in Sweden and Saudi Arabia. Transformational leadership styles shaped the promotion of sustainability at a high level in Sweden, but at a low level in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, transactional leadership shaped the promotion of sustainability at a high level in Saudi Arabia, but at a low level in Sweden. While the passive leadership style shaped the promotion of sustainability at a low level in both countries. Managers can use these findings to promote sustainability practices and shape their styles of leadership taking into account contexts that differ from one country to another. 

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