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Constructing the waste-scape – spacing practices in a waste management company
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation. (NMP)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6980-3448
Vafabmiljö AB, Sweden.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As the awareness of the need for strategies for sustainability has grown, the interest inwaste management has increased. With policy documents like Agenda 2030 and the European waste framework directive, waste management is on the agenda of international, national, regional and local governments, and the pressure to manage waste well is increasing, also in Sweden. The purpose with this paper is to explore how a waste management company deals with this increased pressure on an organisational level. We do so through by analysing a case.

The case is a mid-sized waste management company following the business model that is common among several waste management companies in Sweden. The business mode lincludes three types of activities: public service activities that collect solid waste from households, commercial establishments and industry; processing activities that transform this waste; and marketing activities that enable products and recycled material to re-enter the economy (Corvellec, Bramryd, & Hultman, 2012). Formerly a company owned by 12 municipalities, but since 2016 a municipal body of its own with representatives for the former owners (the municipalities) as executive board, the organisation has undergone great changes during the past year. It has taken over all members of (white collar) staff that previously worked at the municipalities with waste management issues and has today increased responsibility for what types of waste to collect and process. Today, the organisation totals about 250 employees, including administrators, managers, customer service, sales personnel, as well as waste management workers of various kinds. Semi-structured interviews have been undertaken with 21 managers at the company. In addition, an ethnographic approach has been used where the researcher has spent one day a week during 6 months at the company, observing and documenting meetings and participating in waste management activities. The empirical material consists of transcripts of the interviews, field notes and photos taken during the days at the company. In addition, this paper is written in collaboration with the director of the company, and together the authors have worked inductively, from a curious stance and shared interest in how organising happens on a micro-level and how this can explain what goes on in the company.

A first analysis of the empirical material shows that the multi market-exposure of four different and conflicting markets, the markets of politics; waste-as-material; technology; and commerce, that Corvellec & Bramryd has identified in another study of Swedish waste management companies not only exist also for this company (Corvellec & Bramryd, 2012).Our analysis however also shows that the logics of the four related markets not only play astrategic role for the company, but that they play out on an organisational level and on a day-to-day-basis, creating internal conflicts within the company. We then explore how the four logics are constructed by those voicing them, in time as well as in space. This way we are able to dismantle the spacing practices (Vásquez & Cooren,2013) of the waste scape of the waste management company is constructed; “waste scape” here referring to the organisation as a whole rather than to the physical place where waste is dumped and/or processed (cf Alley, 1998). These spacing practices disrupts the organising of the company and creates tensions, but at the same time seem to work as a basis for creativity and development (cf Drazin, Ann Glynn, & Kazanjian, 1999). We conclude that managing the conflicts that emerge as the different logics clash as different spacing practices take place on an organisational level on a day-to-day basis, is thus not only a strategic challenge (cf Corvellec & Bramryd, 2012), but a managerial and leadership challenge of waste management companies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
waste, sustainability, practices
National Category
Economics and Business Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-42978OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-42978DiVA, id: diva2:1303987
Conference
Opening the Bin - New perspectives on waste, culture and society from the humanities and the social sciences, Lund University, Helsingborg Campus, Sweden, April 27-28, 2017
Available from: 2019-04-11 Created: 2019-04-11 Last updated: 2019-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Hallin, Anette

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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