Populating the life cycle perspective: methods for analyzing social and organizational dimensions of product chains for management studies
Conference poster, 2015
The strength of the life cycle perspective is that it takes the whole product chain into account so that the shifting of environmental problems along the chain can be avoided. A weakness with conventional life cycle analysis is that its enviro-technical analysis does not easily identify actors and their scope of action. By replacing the focus on technical processes with a focus on actors and their organization of the product flow, another understanding of the sustainability issues of the product chain becomes possible. The outcome of a decade of research is a portfolio of life cycle methods for the management sciences: actor-LCA, social issue LCA, study of product chain organization, study of a production and consumption system, and organizational study of a flow node in a product chain. The theoretical reasoning leading to this developed rests on an application of actor‐network‐theories for a constructive combination of both social and material actants. It consists in part of an analysis of the problem with 'flow' and in part, the problem with 'organization'. The different methods focus on actors and organization in a product life cycle in different ways. The positioning of the methods relative to each other is presented and their application to management and governance problems is discussed.
life cycle thinking