Establishing an Environmentally Friendly Organizational Culture
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The impact people and organizations have on the environment has been on the agenda in media for decades now. Still, very little research has been conducted in looking at what impact organizational culture can have when organizations attempt to become more environmentally friendly. For most organizations the environmental work is not part of their core business but rather something they work on at the side, if at all. Due to this, when an organization decides to implement an environmental vision and goals the employees may not adapt to it. This leads to the research question: How can an organizational culture be changed towards becoming environmentally friendly?To gain insight in the topic we researched general organizational cultural change theories which we used as a foundation for the deep, semi-structured interviews we conducted with five organizations that have worked towards becoming environmentally friendly for some time, and all consider themselves successful in having an environmentally friendly organizational culture. The respondents are very different from each other in regards to both industry and size, and some of them are Swedish while others are international. We chose maximum variation sampling as it would help us identify common methods organizations us across their variations.We found that to a large extent the same methods that are used for changing general organizational culture also can be used when changing the organizational culture towards becoming more environmentally friendly but that there are many adjustments to be made in which parts of the theories are most important. There is nonetheless a noticeable difference in the importance the different methods have and what the respondents emphasized as crucial. We found that the main drivers of motivation are communication and the importance of involving all employees in the environmental work. There is also a need to recognize and encourage employees for their work. All in all, however, the one method that stands above all other is what one of our respondents concluded with “The most important thing to do to create environmental change is to inform, inform and inform the employees”. The respondents highlighted the importance of making all employees feel like they are included in the process. That they understand the need for change is also something that seems crucial to getting people onboard. We also found that a lot of emphasis needs to be put on evaluation. Existing theory was however very weak in this area. We found tendencies of the organizations going through an environmental cultural life cycle where they start off the project, but maintain it poorly and hence every so often have to start over and therefore more focus therefore needs to be put into maintaining the cultural changes and not ever believe that the work is done. The work doesn’t end, but the environmental work and adaption is an ongoing process, even though the mindset of working environmentally can be permanently changed and built into the culture of employees.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 85 p.
Cultural change, environmental organizational culture, environmentally friendly, organizational culture
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89353OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-89353DiVA: diva2:720173