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How D affects P leading to O: An expolatory study of companies who have implemented sustainable practices
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

There are a lot of studies and literature dealing with different aspects of sustainability andimplications it can have on companies but there is very little existing information about whichforces are affecting companies with regards to adapting a more sustainable practice. There isalso little information regarding how the in-house processes of a company is changed (andwho affects and starts these changes) when a change towards a more sustainable focus is to bemade. Here is where we find a distinct gap in the existing research that we by researching thistopic hope to fill.In this thesis, we will examine and investigate the changes taking place in company processeswhen a sustainability focus is to be made and enforced, but these processes cannot beunderstood in isolation. Therefore we will also investigate the drivers stimulating andaffecting these changes as well as the outcomes these changed processes bring to a companyis also very important in order to understand. Therefore;“The purpose of this study is to investigate how different drivers affectcompany’ processes and what kind of outcomes this brings for the companies that arecreating a more sustainable focused business”.We have a subjectivist ontology (where our own background and experience affects how weview reality), an interpretive epistemology (where the interpretation of context andunderstanding play a central role in how knowledge is created) and we have used theories in amostly inductive way. We chose to perform a qualitative research (by interviewing fourmanagers working at Norrmejerier, Bostaden, Umeå Energi and Volvo) and after this weperformed a qualitative analysis based on our interviews. By us using an open endedinterview method with interview guide approach we aimed at answering the “how” and “why”questions connected to our topic which we also succeeded with according to us.We found that the most prominent drivers of company change in our investigated companiesare the customers, the owners/board, the manager, the market (customers and competitors),the employees and the government. The customers affect the companies’ sustainability goalsand processes primarily via expectations created by reputation of the companies, currenttrends of demand and social expectations on company practices. The owners/board affectsustainability goals and processes via specified company goals, challenges and decidingpower, the managers affect goals and processes via their personal experiences, theirknowledge and their ability to take initiatives. The market affects the goals and processes viacurrent norms and trends, the employees via their attitudes and finally, the government affectssustainability goals and processes via power to set and enforce laws and standards on thecompanies. The processes of change starts with either a idea or a need or a combination of thetwo in our investigated companies and some outcomes that has been connected to thecompanies enforcing a more sustainable way of doing business are reduced transportations,reduced use of energy, reduced costs, increased awareness and interest in environmentalissues, increased ambition level regarding environmental initiatives, improved communicationand knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 77 p.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35074OAI: diva2:328679
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2010-08-13 Created: 2010-07-05 Last updated: 2010-08-13Bibliographically approved

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