Organizing life cycle management in practice: challenges of a multinational manufacturing corporation
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2014

Purpose The environmental life cycle management (LCM) literature proposes many factors considered critical in order to successfully conduct LCM. This study contrasts these vague and general factors proposed as critical to LCM in existing literature, with detailed accounts of LCM in practice. Methods A literature review of three related research fields, i.e., LCM, life cycle thinking, and sustainable supply chain management, is contrasted with a study of how LCM is enacted in practice in a large multinational manufacturing company recognized for its LCM work. A qualitative study, with mainly a managerial focus, is conducted based on inter- views, workshops, part-time observations, and document studies. Results and discussion The literature review demonstrates that the three related research fields provide different accounts of LCM: all apply a holistic environmental perspective, but with different emphases and using largely different research methods. The empirical study shows that integration was a common topic at the studied company and that solutions were often sought in tools and processes. Middle management support proved important, and challenging, in these integration efforts. Challenges identified also included further integrating LCM into departments such as purchasing and sales. Conclusions The constant focus on integration at the studied company implies that LCM work is an ongoing effort. Several integration paths are identified: (1) inclusion of sustainability aspects in tools and processes, (2) finding ways to work around certain organizational levels, and (3) using networks and social interaction to create commitment and integration. Although the concept of LCM implies a holistic approach, LCM in practice reveals a lack of a comprehensive overview of LCM-related initiatives and of involved sustainability prac- titioners within the studied organization.

Organization

Practice-oriented

Sustainability

Environmental life cycle management (LCM)

Integration

Networks

Product chains

Författare

Hanna Lindén

Göteborgs universitet

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Miljösystemanalys

Henrikke Baumann

Göteborgs universitet

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Miljösystemanalys

Magnus Rosén

Göteborgs universitet

Andreas Diedrich

Göteborgs universitet

International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

0948-3349 (ISSN)

Drivkrafter

Hållbar utveckling

Ämneskategorier

Tvärvetenskapliga studier

Miljövetenskap

DOI

10.1007/s11367-014-0818-y