Keeping Things as They Are: How Status Quo Biases and Traditions along with a Lack of Information Transparency in the Building Industry Slow Down the Adoption of Innovative Sustainable Technologies

Björn Hofman, G. de Vries, G. van de Kaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of this century. To contain its effects, the way we act would have to change significantly. Especially in the building sector, much progress can be made. Attempts have been made to stimulate sustainable behavior in the industry, for example, by implementing sustainable building measures in construction designs. However, adoption rates of these measures are low and behavioral change among building professionals is needed. Knowing why building professionals hold back in their use of these measures could support this behavioral change. This knowledge could, for example, inform energy policies or organizational strategies. That is why this study utilized the technology acceptance model and presents psychological factors as barriers to innovative sustainable building measure adoption in an organizational context. A survey among building professionals involved in real estate development (n = 109) was used to explore how conservatism within the building industry hinders adopting the building measures. To represent conservatism, we selected two cognitive biases that can be interpreted as a manifestation of status quo bias and confirmation bias, both fueled by information hassle (a micro-stressor caused by complex information). The effects of these variables on the adoption of sustainable building measures were tested using structural equation modeling, a methodology suitable for testing complex models and commonly used in behavioral research. Survey data indicate that conservatism is an essential barrier for building professionals to adopt sustainable building measures and that it increases when knowledge is low and information is complex. Based on these findings, we argue that policies and organizational strategies that attack these psychological barriers could promote the adoption of innovative sustainable building measures within the building sector.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8188
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • sustainable innovation
  • sustainable building
  • barriers to innovation
  • sustainable behavior
  • conservatism
  • information hassle

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