Mapping corporate social responsibility strategies in the construction and engineering industry

Informa UK Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Construction Management and Economics, 2018, 36, (2), pp. 67-82
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is growing in response to societal and regulatory demands that construction businesses contribute positively to the environments and communities in which they build. While, CSR research in the construction and engineering industry is progressing there has been little research into whether and how firms in this industry operationalize CSR, how they incorporate CSR into their business vision, leadership and mission and strategies and what forms these strategies take. In addressing these gaps in knowledge, a survey of 104 firms from across the construction and engineering industry and its supply chain in Australia and New Zealand was undertaken. The results indicate that CSR in construction and engineering firms is largely informal, unsophisticated, compliance driven and in its early stages of development. There is little strategic focus in CSR initiatives and the potential social capital derived from better strategic relationships with communities appears to be largely wasted. Conceptually, it is concluded that there is a need to adapt current models of CSR practice, developed in a permanent business context, to reflect the transitional, nomadic and project-based nature of construction. Current models of CSR are inadequate at explaining how firms operating in the construction industry need to practically adjust and adapt their CSR strategies to fit with the constantly changing political, social, cultural, environmental and economic profiles of local communities and the requirements of clients and local governments.
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