Organising sustainability competencies through quality management: Integration or specialisation
Journal article, 2018

A significant step in integrating environmental sustainability into daily operations is through product development. One way to achieve such integration of environmental considerations into product development is by relating sustainability competencies to practices of Quality Management. However, practices seem to vary for how competencies within environmental sustainability are organised in order to make sustainability more actionable. This study explores two ways of organising sustainability competencies in product development: integration and specialisation. The organisation of sustainability competency is illustrated through two cases; one case in which sustainability is integrated with the quality management competency, and the other in which a new competency focusing on sustainability has been added as a separate function in product development. It is suggested that the organisation of sustainability competency influences the extent of environmental impact. Further, trade-offs, such as material source versus weight may not be exploited when sustainability is integrated as one area of responsibility for another specialty competency, suggesting a lack of sufficient competency within environmental sustainability to recognise potential trade-offs between-for example-quality and environmental impact.

Sustainable product development




Sustainability competencies

Quality management


Vanajah Siva Subramaniam

School of engineering Jönköping university

Ida Gremyr

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Arni Halldorsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics


2071-1050 (ISSN)

Vol. 10 5 1326

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Environmental Management

Business Administration



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