Corporate social responsibility for construction contractors: a China study

Zhen-Yu Zhao (Department of Engineering Management, North China Electric Power University, Beijing, China)
Xiao-Jing Zhao (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Jian Zuo (School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia, Australia)
George Zillante (School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia, Australia)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Publication date: 4 July 2016



Corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice and research regarding construction contractors are comparatively limited. The purpose of this research is to identify a series of CSR issues that reflect the major components of CSR, and to determine the perceived importance of these factors in the context of construction contractors.


A CSR indicator framework was developed based on stakeholder theory. CSR stakeholders and their corresponding CSR performance issues in construction contractors are classified into two levels, i.e. project level and organizational level. This is followed by a questionnaire survey to investigate the perceptions on relative importance of CSR issues of four key stakeholders in typical construction projects in China, i.e. construction contractors, clients, design and engineering consultancy and supervision firms.


The study highlighted a number of factors, e.g. “quality and safety of construction”, “occupational health and safety” and “supplier/partner relationship” were highly regarded; however, their relative importance varied according to the type of responding organization.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicated the major concerns of the different parties in construction projects, thereby providing a pathway for construction contractors to improve their CSR practice.


The priorities of various stakeholders described in this paper provide a useful reference for construction contractors in the selection and adoption of criteria for CSR performance. A better understanding of perceived priorities of CSR factors from different participating parties also serves useful inputs to construction contractors in their stakeholder management process.



Zhao, Z., Zhao, X., Zuo, J. and Zillante, G. (2016), "Corporate social responsibility for construction contractors: a China study", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 614-640.

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