LCM development: Focusing on the LC promoters and their organizational problem-solving
Journal article, 2019
Purpose: Life cycle management (LCM) implies a specific sustainability perspective which extends environmental management
along the product life cycle, with the aim of decreasing negative environmental impact throughout the product chain. Research
has identified that the adoption of LCMin the industry depends upon its situational adaptation to the organizational context. Even
so, little is known about the specifics of this adaptation. With this paper, our aim is to add knowledge on LCM adoption and
Methods: A systematic analysis of empirical material on life cycle (LC) activity in six multinational corporations (MNCs) is
conducted, by applying a secondary analysis of qualitative data (Heaton 2008). In order to study instances of LCM adoption and
adaptation, we focus on the acts and situations of LC promoters. The identified instances are analyzed through the lens of situated
problem-solving (Kuhn and Jackson 2008).
Results and discussion: Sixty-seven instances of LC promotion were identified and analyzed, resulting in the identification of
eight categories of problem-situations typically encountered by LC promoters. The identified problem-situations represent
different situations when the organizational appropriateness of the LC approach is at stake and to which responses tailored to
the organization are put forward by a LC promoter. The results bring to the fore the ubiquity of organizational and creative
problem-solving, highlighting the role of LC promoters as change agents for LCMadoption, and depict the development of LCM
as an emergent practice, rather than an implementation process.
Conclusions: This paper provides a first systematic analysis of LC promoters enacting a variety of responses to organizationally
challenging LC situations, thus detailing the adaptation necessary for embedding LCM in the industry. Findings show that the
development of LCM to a great extent is about the promotion of a LC approach, and that LC promoters need organizational
knowing, in addition to LC knowing, to make the LC approach relevant to management and business.
Life cycle thinking (LCT)
Life cycle (LC) promoters
Life cycle management (LCM)