Improving Social Sustainability in Construction : Conceptual Framework Based on Social Network Analysis

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Original languageEnglish
Article number05018012
Journal / PublicationJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number6
Online published7 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


With the rapid increase in sustainable development, there have been increasing calls for social sustainability to be incorporated into construction. One promising yet under explored direction is to take into account the context of temporal construction project-based organizations (PBOs), interconnected networked stakeholders, and the longitudinal monitoring of organizational governance. The use of social network analysis (SNA) to study various relationship-oriented phenomena is gaining popularity in organizational governance and project management and has the potential to be applied to construction in which PBOs prevail. This study aimed to develop a multilayered conceptual framework for improving social sustainability in construction, in which the link between the theories of social sustainability and construction can be advanced through network thinking and SNA. Based on the framework, effective operational methods can be derived to measure and analyze the working relationships involved and, in so doing, the social sustainability aspects can be better embedded in the relationships. A building project was investigated as a case study to illustrate the application of the conceptual framework. By continuous monitoring of the network interplay and adjustments on institutional settings, construction can be more socially sustainable in the long run.

Research Area(s)

  • Construction, Project-based organizations, Social network analysis, Social sustainability