Simple material relations handled by complicated organisation by or ’How many (organisations) does it take to change a lightbulb?’
Paper in proceedings, 2008
The (biophysical, material) environment is often missing in environmental management research. In an attempt to bridge the ‘great divide’ between studies of humans and culture and studies of nature and artefacts (Latour 1993) and to better understand how organisation influences the environment, scholars exploring organising processes and their interaction with the environment got together in the Organisation for the Environment research programme. Their studies collect multiple situations relevant for environmental management (e.g., the maintenance of water supply in apartment buildings, the changing of light bulbs in a grocery store, and the reformation of water administration in Sweden). Each activity has its own organisation, yet takes place in a context of many organisations. The action (of e.g. changing a defect light bulb) is a result of a series of actions performed in a net of actors (Czarniawska 2000, 2005). Comparison of the studies has led to the introduction of new terms to facilitate discussion around organisational-environmental relationships in environmental management.