Exploring patterns of sustainability stimuli of project managers

Carl Marnewick, Gilbert Silvius, Ron Schipper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable project management is becoming important and the sustainability concepts of people, the planet and profit needs to be incorporated into any type of project. This article focuses on the behavior of the project manager per se and the stimuli patterns that motivate them to adhere to sustainable project management. Three stimuli patterns are used i.e., intrinsically motivated, pragmatic and task driven. To determine which of these patterns influence a project manager, a quantitative pair-wise comparison was used. Twelve statements were used in a pair-wise comparison resulting in a combination of 66 questions. A sample of 101 project managers was analyzed to determine the stimuli patterns. The results indicate that the most prevalent stimulus pattern is the intrinsically motivated pattern with the other two patterns equally important. The results are consistent across gender, age and types of projects as well as industries. It can be concluded that for this study, project managers incorporate sustainability because they feel that it is something they should do. The motivation to consider sustainability is dominated by their behavioral beliefs and the characteristics of the project, or the opinion of others, do not play a large role. This research contributes to the larger body of knowledge with regards to sustainable project management and specifically to the human behavior of project managers. This research addresses the gap that currently exists in current literature where the focus is on the product's sustainability and sustainable processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5016
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • Project manager
  • Stimulus patterns
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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