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  • 1.
    Schwartz, Birgitta
    et al.
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    Tilling, Karina
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    Den institutionella teoribildningens begränsningar för att förstå maktförhållanden och organisationers ansvar i arbetet för en hållbar utveckling2009Ingår i: Nordiske organisasjonsstudier, ISSN 1501-8237, Vol. 3, s. 82-98Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    The article discusses the potential for using institutional theory to understand organisational behaviour, and to identify alternative behaviours that could contribute to social change with regard to environmental and social issues. The discussion is based on three studies in which institutional organisation theory has been applied, while at the same time it identifies a common need to supplement the theory formation with other theoretical perspectives in order to address the actors' responsibilities and the power relationships that arose when environmental and social issues were developed in the respective organisational fields. The studies show that sustainable development, in the form of the acceptance of environmental and social responsibility, comprises political/social issues in which the dominance and power of institutions affect how the actors act.  In a comparison of the studies, the time perspective plays a salient role in terms of the ways in which environmental and social issues are handled in organisational fields as they continue to mature. The freedom of action enjoyed by companies and government agencies appears to be limited by this process over time, and the options for legitimate behaviour seem increasingly to follow standardised models such as environmental management systems and social standards. At the same time, the environmental and social issues become depoliticised, and those constructions that fit into the standardised control models take precedence over a focus on deeper and more complex perspectives. In this context, institutional organisation theory contributes significantly to an understanding of the ways in which organisations translate ideas and act to achieve legitimacy in their environmental and social behaviours over time. Supplemental theoretical perspectives are also needed to elucidate what is not constructed as an environmental or social issue. By combining the merits of institutional organisation theory with critical perspectives, we are looking toward a developmental process that will enable analyses of potential social changes in relation to organisational behaviour.

  • 2.
    Schwartz, Birgitta
    et al.
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    Tilling, Karina
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    'ISO-lating' Corporate Social Responsibility in the Organizational Context: A Dissenting Interpretation of ISO 260002009Ingår i: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966, Vol. 16, nr 5, s. 289-299Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Sustainable development is frequently an object of standardization, and over 100,000 organizations hold ISO 14001 certificates proving they have legitimate environmental management systems. Guidelines for social responsibility are now the object of standardization, resulting in the upcoming ISO 26000 standard. This paper examines the rationale behind developing ISO 26000, highlighting the tendency to decouple complex CSR issues in the organizational context. This is relevant to current problems of poor working conditions, weak regulatory compliance, and corruption often encountered in the production context in low-income countries. In addition, existing codes of conduct are frequently decoupled from actual organizational performance. We highlight how CSR standardization risks isolating complex and contested social issues, more radical attempts at change conflicting with striving for legitimacy. Like the decontexualizing tendency proceeding from the standardized treatment of complex sustainable development issues in organizations, CSR issues also risk becoming decontextualized with the application of standardized approaches such as the ISO 26000 standard.

  • 3.
    Schwartz, Birgitta
    et al.
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    Tilling, Karina
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    Standardizing Sustainability: A Critical Perspective on ISO 14001 and ISO 260002010Ingår i: Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenges and Practices / [ed] Peter Dobers, Stockholm: Santérus Academic Press , 2010Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 4.
    Tilling, Karina
    Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hållbar samhälls- och teknikutveckling.
    Att styra hållbar utveckling: Om miljöledning och dess översättningar i statsförvaltningen2008Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    The implementation of environmental management systems is a way for the Swedish government to manage the work for sustainable development via central government agencies. Environmental management systems (EMS) were originally developed as a tool for continual improvement of environmental performance in industrial companies, following the circle of “Plan, Do, Check, Act”. The aim of using EMS was to facilitate integration of environmental considerations in all agency activities, both internal and external. The purpose of the thesis is to study translation processes of environmental issues related to the EMS project in central government agencies. In order to study the construction of environmental issues in EMS work in agencies, and the consequences of these constructions in relation to ecological sustainable development, four studies have been conducted; first, a study of documents related to the EMS project; second, a study of the Swedish Road Administration and their work with EMS; third, a study of translations in the network for EMS implementation; and fourth, a focus group study of management groups in five agencies.The analysis shows how the external references have been a central part of the translation processes taking place in the EMS project. This is explained as a result of the use of the international EMS standard, ISO 14001, which has become a frequent reference in the project. The influence of ISO 14001 is explained in the thesis as a consequence of the perceived lack of interest at management and government levels in the implementation of EMS projects in agencies. Related to the common adoption are also the external, certified environmental auditors and consultants auditing the results of the EMS implementation and thereby influencing the translation processes taking place in the project. As a result the activities for sustainable development by state agencies have become an issue for the audit and judgement by private actors.Another consequence is the focus of the measurable and non-conflict environmental aspects matching the EMS rationale. Contested environmental issues however do not match the model and may therefore attain less attention of environmental management. Under the influence of the EMS rationale the translation of ecological sustainable development becomes restricted to environmental issues constructed as EMS issues. Related to this is the learning that remains restricted to the EMS rationale. A vital implication is the need for dialogue on the role of state administration for sustainable development beyond EMS activities.

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