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The distribution of sustainability decision-making in manufacturing networks
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Kartläggning av beslutsstrukturer gällande hållbarhet inom produktionsnätverk (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In order to contribute to the research for solving the challenge of implementing business sustainability, this study aims to explore the relation between an important aspect of organizational structure; centralization, and an important aspect of sustainability management; setting sustainability objectives. This has been done, in particular, by studying the distribution of decisions related to economic, environmental and social sustainability objectives between different organizational levels in multi-plant manufacturing networks. The research is fundamentally exploratory and has been conducted as a multiple case study, with nine participating case organizations. Data has been used from the nine case organizations, based on semi-structured interviews. Five different decision-making approaches for sustainability have been found; all decisions are centralized and decided at the corporate headquarters, all decisions are aggregated and decided at the central headquarters but adapted and transformed when distributed to lower organizational levels, all decisions are integrated and decided at both the central headquarters and at lower organizational levels, all decisions are decided at an intermediate organizational level, and all decisions are local and decided at the plant level. The findings also show that there is no consistent way of deciding upon sustainability issues, where some case organizations seem to regard sustainability as a global concern, while others regard it as a more local concern. In general, the economic sustainability dimension is regarded as more of a global concern, while the environmental dimension is more of a local concern, and the social dimension more of an integrated concern, where some related issues are decided more centralized while others are decided more local. The findings of this study can act as guidance for managers when implementing or improving their sustainability strategies. The findings also provide empirical data for the academic with the possibility to expand and evaluate the research in the future.

Abstract [sv]

För att bidra till att hitta en lösning till utmaningen med att implementera affärsmässig hållbarhet iorganisationer, syftar den här studien till att undersöka relationen mellan en viktig aspekt av organisationsstruktur: centralisering, och en viktig aspekt av hållbarhetsstrategi: sätta mål. Detta har gjorts genom att kartlägga fördelningen av beslut relaterade till de tre dimensionerna av hållbarhet; ekonomisk, miljö och social, mellan olika organisationsnivåer. Studien är i grunden utforskande och har genomförts som en multipel fallstudie, med nio deltagande fallstudieorganisationer. Det datamaterial som har använts baseras på semistrukturerade intervjuer. Fem olika beslutsstrukturer har hittats: alla beslut är centraliserade och fattas på huvudkontoret, alla beslut är aggregerade och fattas på huvudkontoret men anpassas till respektive lokal nivå, alla beslut är integrerade där vissa fattas på centralnivå medan andra fattas på lokalnivå, alla beslut fattas på en mellannivå i organisationen och alla beslut är lokala och fattas på fabriksnivå. I tillägg till detta, har vi hittat att vissa av organisationerna behandlar hållbarhet som en mer global angelägenhet, medan andra som  en mer lokal angelägenhet. Generellt anses den ekonomiska dimensionen som en mer global angelägenhet, medan den miljömässiga dimensionen betraktas mer som en lokal angelägenhet. Den sociala hållbarhetsdimensionen verkar vara en integrerad angelägenhet, där vissa beslut är  mer globala, medan andra är mer lokala. Studiens resultat ämnar fungera som en guide till företag när de implementerar eller förbättrar sitt hållbarhetsarbete. Resultatet utgör också viktig empirisk data som kan användas i framtida, utvecklande forskning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 72 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainability, decision-making, centralization, manufacturing networks
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-170480OAI: diva2:838598
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Industrial Engineering and Management
Available from: 2016-10-13 Created: 2015-06-30 Last updated: 2016-10-13Bibliographically approved

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