The institutionalisation of corporate action on climate change in the Swedish electricity industry

Sammanfattning: This thesis utilises qualitative methods to examine what drives / impedes corporate action on climate change in the Swedish electricity industry. Reasoning from new institutional theory, this thesis examines the role of institutional logics as a determinant of corporate actions. Institutional logics are shared cognitively institutionalised structures that are thought to limit individuals’ capacity for free and autonomous action. Theoretically the thesis examines the concept of agency vis-à-vis the ability of organisational actors to perform institutional work on institutional logics. The thesis shows that public policy is the most important driver of corporate action on climate change from a company perspective, despite the fact that Swedish electricity companies operate in a liberalised market context. It also shows that corporate action on climate change is part of a broader institutional change project that seeks to bring about a transition to more sustainable means of electricity production. The change project is part of a programme of ecological modernisation, which is described here as a hybrid logic in that it combines traditional institutional orders such as government, the private sector and science and technology as a means to mitigate transboundary environmental problems. The thesis concludes that a range of organisational actors collectively participate in the ongoing modification and transformation of the hybrid ecological modernisation logic via a process of communicative interaction. The thesis analyses these findings in terms of their implications for Swedish research policy.

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