Networks as a means of supporting the adoption of organisational innovations in SMEs : The case of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) based on ISO 14001

Detta är en avhandling från Luleå : Luleå University of Technology

Sammanfattning: Nowadays, a growing number of companies are aware of their responsibility to green their products, services and processes. Industrial companies have changed their attitude and developed more innovative and proactive environmental strategies due to market opportunities and in order to gain competitive advantage over competitors. In spite of their large numbers, most SMEs have little knowledge or interest in environmental questions and generally have difficulties when it comes to integrating environmental aspects into their activities. One way for SMEs to shift from a reactive to a proactive environmental behaviour is to adopt environmental innovations. Environmental innovations consist of new or modified processes, techniques, practices, systems and products to avoid or reduce environmental harms. In this study, I focused on a particular type of innovation: organisational environmental innovations, such as EMS in accordance with ISO 14001.One objective of this thesis was to understand and describe how SMEs can use an existing network as a basis for initiating environmental work. Another objective was to develop a model that can be used as a guideline for the adoption of an ISO 14001 EMS by SMEs collaborating in a network.This thesis is structured in three sections. The first section presents the relevant frames of reference. The second section comprises an empirical study based on three papers that are appended to this thesis, which describes how a network approach can be used to support the adoption of EMS by SMEs. The third section is based on the first two sections and presents a model for adopting an EMS based on ISO 14001 for SMEs working in a network.

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