Impact of sustainability on business performance and strategy for commercial building contractors

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/WJEMSD-07-2016-0032
Pages323-343
Publication Date10 October 2016
AuthorHeather Eilers,Wai Chong,Jonghoon Kim,Hariharan Naganathan,Thomas E. Glavinich†
SubjectStrategy,Business ethics,Sustainability
Impact of sustainability on
business performance and
strategy for commercial
building contractors
Heather Eilers
JE Dunn Construction, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Wai Chong
School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment,
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Jonghoon Kim
Department of Construction Management Technology,
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA
Hariharan Naganathan
Department of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment,
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA, and
Thomas E. Glavinich
Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering,
University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand the corporate sustainability culture of
contracting firms, particularly in the Midwest. Many of the local firms operate nationally. The local
corporate culture influences their regional offices. Other than convenience, the firms are selected from
Midwest since their headquarters are situated in Midwest region and comprises of more number of
employees than their other regional offices. This helped the research to approach more contractors for
better survey and interview responses. The paper documents the study on existing management and
construction practices these contractors adopt on sustainability and examines how their sustainability
efforts influence the firmsperformances.
Design/methodology/approach This research utilized surveys and interviews as the primary
means of data collection. The data were collected from survey and interviews with selected companies
operating in the Midwest region of the USA. One of the companies also operates offices across the
country. Data from the interviews and surveys were analyzed using statistical analysis system
software application. χ
2
analysis, particularly the frequency procedures using the Cochran-Mantel-
Haenszel (CMH) method was the primary analysis method used to study the relationships between
different factors. The CMH method compares the association between and within two groups and
permits adjustments of the control variables.
Findings The findings of this paper include the results from various Midwest commercial building
contractors. The results on different aspects of sustainable practices and their success rates among the
contractors are determined and discussed, and future scope of improvements are mentioned at the
conclusion of this paper.
Research limitations/implications In summary, sustainable business practices are beneficial to
society and favorable for the construction business. Embracing sustainable business practices has a
positive impact on firm strategic performance for commercial building contractors through employee
satisfaction, project opportunities, and market advantage. Sustainable business practices extend into
World Journal of
Entrepreneurship, Management
and Sustainable Development
Vol. 12 No. 4, 2016
pp. 323-343
©Emerald Group Publis hing Limited
2042-5961
DOI10.1108/WJEMSD-07-2016-0032
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/2042-5961.htm
323
Sustainability
on business
performance
the lives of individuals involved which exceedingly impacts society. The construction industry has
advanced sustainability efforts, but there is a long way to go on the journey to being better stewards of
the environment and resources.
Originality/value A rival theory became apparent during the investigation that a new building
consolidating al l local company emp loyees could have an impact on firm stra tegic performanc e.
Third, this paper is confounded by a great recession that made project opportunities and revenue
considerations a nalysis problemat ic. Some informati on regarding these asp ects were helpful;
however, expanding this paper during a more stable and typical economic period could provide
additional insight.
Keywords Sustainable practices, Construction industry, Commercial building contractors,
Survey questionnaires
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Modern society depends heavily on the built environment. It is our means to move
around, live and work as modern humans spend most of our time in this environment
(homes, offices, road, groceries stores, etc.). This built environment leaves a significant
footprint on the globe, and our growing economy and population swell the footprint
exponentially. Reusing, recycling, renewable materials, and green building design are
some of the core areas thatwould reduce such footprints (Halliday, 2008). The efficiency
of systems and buildings, carbon emissions, hazardous materials, and microclimate
(Glavinich, 2008; Saparauskas, 2003) are the other factors driving sustainability of the
industry. There are plenty of sustainability solutions offered to the industry, as the
Leadership in Energyand Environmental Design (LEED)guidelines, International Green
Construction Code, and ASTM sustainable standards. However, the success of
sustainabilitylies in the culture of companies and communities (Eccles etal., 2011; Gupta
and Kumar, 2013; Linnenluecke and Griffiths, 2010; Schensul, 2009).
2. Research objectives
The focus of this paper is to understand the corporate sustainability culture of
contracting firms, particularly in the Midwest. Many of the local firms operate
nationally. The local corporate culture influences their regional offices. Other than
convenience, the firms are selected from Midwest since their headquarters are situated
in Midwest region and comprises of more number of employees than their other
regional offices. This helped the research to approach more contractors for better
survey and interview responses. The paper documents the study on existing
management and construction practices these contractors adopt on sustainability and
examines how their sustainability efforts influence the firmsperformances.
The paper addresses three sub-objectives that are grouped into three performance
parameters: employeessatisfaction, project opportunities, and market advantage.
These three parameters are quintessential drivers that attract companies to ad opt
sustainability practices as confirmed by prior research (Avlonitis and Gounaris, 1997;
Chi and Gursoy, 2009; Eccles et al., 2011; Gupta and Kumar, 2013; Linnenluecke and
Griffiths, 2010; Matzler et al., 2004; Mochama, 2013; Saari and Judge, 2004). These
parameters are essential for companies to enhance their competitiveness, and the main
reasons why these companies focusses on sustainability. Figure 1 shows the research
questions and measurement for this research study.
The first objectiveexamines the relationships betweencorporate sustainable business
practices and employeessatisfaction. This objective examines the effects of different
sustainable business practices on different employeessatisfaction parameters . These
324
WJEMSD
12,4

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT