25 years of ‘sustainable projects’ : What we know and what the literature says
Last few years have seen a huge increase of publications at the intersection of project management and sustainability. Nevertheless, this field has become increasingly fragmented undermining a steady and consistent development. Aiming at balancing tensions between authors’ attempts for more ‘integration’ and the trajectories toward ‘fragmentation, we employed an extensive, systematic literature review of 770 publications from the period 1993 to 2017. Therefore, this review offers guidance to scholars less familiar with this concept who encounter SPM in their research. We suggest that the SPM literature can be understood by answering the following questions: (1) Why adopt sustainable business practices into projects? (2) What is the impact of sustainability on traditional project management practices? And (3) how is sustainability embedded in project practices? The three narrative themes illustrate the diverse views on the different aspects of SPM, allowing divergences, such as different philosophical underpinnings or levels of analysis, to flourish without eroding the clarity of the field.