The integration of sustainability in project management is picking up momentum, however, more empirical research is needed that explores variety and diversity of contexts and belief.•
Several factors influence the behavior of project managers with regards to considering sustainability.•
These factors will stimulate different individual project managers to different degrees.•
The study revealed three distinct patterns of stimulus factors that stimulate project managers to consider sustainability.
As it is increasingly being recognized that projects play a key-role in creating a more sustainable society, the integration of the concepts of sustainability into project management should be considered as one of the most important global project management trends today. This integration refers both to the sustainability of the project’s deliverable and to the sustainable management of projects. In this last perspective, sustainable project management, the project manager has a central and influential position. However, many factors or circumstances influence the behavior of the project manager with regards to addressing sustainability in his or her project?
The study reported in this paper explored the variety factors that stimulate the project manager to address sustainability issues in the project he or she is managing. Based on the factors provided by the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPA), the study used Q-methodology to explore different subjective patterns of stimulus project managers experience. Based on the factor analysis of 49 Q-sorts, we discovered three factors in the stimulation of sustainable project management behavior. These three factors, that represent distinct stimulus patterns, were labeled as “Pragmatic”, “Intrinsically motivated” and “Task driven”.
By identifying three distinct patterns of what stimulates project managers to address sustainability issues, the study contributes to a successful implementation of sustainable project management as a new ‘school of thought’ in project management.