An integrative framework for studying sustainable practices and its adoption in the AEC industry: A case study

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


The diversity of priorities and differing awareness of sustainable practices among stakeholders in the architecture, engineering and construction industry is critically shaping the adoption of green technology, and the rate at which the industry is shifting towards more sustainable practices. In this paper, we develop an integrated framework that allows reorganization and integration of existing sustainability research in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, emphasizing the perspective of decision-makers and stakeholders. Further, an agent-based model is introduced that allows study of the decision-maker with the decision context, thus making them an integral part of the decision-making process rather than independent of it. The coupled system is adaptive and dynamically organizes itself to reflect complex bottom-up interactions between individual stakeholders, their contexts and the constraints driving their decisions even as they implement or respond to top-down decisions pertaining to the adoption of sustainable practices. The contention of this research is that an integrative systems approach to top-down decision-making and an understanding of bottom-up influences in stakeholder decisions is critical to the understanding sustainable practices and decisions that lead to their adoption in the AEC industry. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Engineering and Technology Management - JET-M