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Exploring Sustainability Strategy Implementation in SMEs: A case study if Internal Communication Processes in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In this study, sustainability strategy implementation processes are discussed together with internal communication processes in SMEs. Large enterprises are not the only contributor to unsustainable development, but so are SMEs. Additionally, SMEs have a significant negative impact on sustainability as they make up the major part of the world economy. In fact, only in Sweden SMEs make up 99.9% (based on the number of employees) of all businesses. Yet, SMEs have not received much attention in society nor in literature of sustainability and sustainable developmentand are lagging behind in sustainable development. Due to pressure from external stakeholders Sustainability is essential for future business growth as well asto stay competitive in today's marketplace. EU and Swedish legislation together with the next generation of sustainable-conscious consumers, have increased pressure on organisations to take responsibility for their actions. Still, SMEs seem to take a reactive approach. For successful sustainable development, sustainability strategies must be aligned with business strategies. However, SMEs face challenges when implementing sustainability strategies. To ease the implementation process, company-specific tools are needed forSMEs. Internal communication is acknowledgedto be essential for sustainability strategy implementation which is most successful when performed in a contextual specific and conceptual abstract practice. Internal communication further contributes to reducing tension in an organisation when implementing a change which is required during implementation processes.This study has been conducted through a single case study operating in the housing construction industry,based in Sweden. We have usedan exploratory and a qualitative approach where both semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted to receive insights from top management and lower-level employees. Our research shows that sustainability strategies, business strategies and communicationstrategies must be balanced to create a shared sustainability vision through short-and long-termgoals to reduce the complexity of sustainable development. Therefore, the role of internal communication in the sustainability strategy implementation processis essential to transformintangible sustainability strategies into tangible features to engage employees and reduce tension within the organisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 96
Keywords [en]
corporate sustainability, internal communication, sustainability strategy implementation, business strategy, communication strategy, triple bottom line, sustainable development, SMEs, company-specific
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161248OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-161248DiVA, id: diva2:1333196
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Anonym
Educational program
Master's program in Business Development and Internationalisation
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Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-01 Created: 2019-06-30 Last updated: 2019-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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