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Inertia and practice change related to greenhouse gas reduction: Essays on institutional entrepreneurship and translation in Swedish agri-food
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. (RiseB)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0186-0358
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

To avoid dangerous climate change a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is required in a relative short time span. However, as development is moving in the wrong direction, there appears to be great inertia in changing activities. This dissertation’s overarching purpose is, from an institutional perspective, to advance the understanding of greenhouse gas-related inertia, as well as change, in industrial agri-activities. This purpose is addressed in four individual but related papers and an introductory chapter. A case study methodology is utilized to advance knowledge regarding greenhouse gas-related inertia and change. Two change initiatives involving the Swedish Board ofAgriculture, the designated expert authority on agricultural matters, were chosen and explored with qualitative methods. The first case consisted of a project to create at an Action Plan, a policy suggestion regarding strategies to reduce emissions from agriculture. The second case focused on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s co-owned agricultural extension service, Greppa Näringen. More specifically, the case consisted of the provision of climate advice to farmers. The analyses of the initiatives focused on assessing, discussing and explaining the types of change advanced within them. The papers show how and why convergent rather than divergent change was pursued, describing different mechanisms generating this inertia.

Abstract [sv]

För att undvika farliga klimatförändringar krävs massiva minskningar av växthusgasutsläpp på relativt kort tid. Detta kan inte uppnås utan omfattande förändringar av utsläppsintensiva aktiviteter. Det förefaller dock finnas en stor tröghet avseende detta, eftersom utvecklingen går i fel riktning. Såväl tröghet som förändring kan analyseras på olika nivåer, och den industriella nivån är speciellt relevant eftersom industriella aktiviteter bidrar med stora utsläpp. I detta sammanhang är primärproduktion av livsmedel av relativ betydelse, både med anledning av utsläppens storlek och produktionens betydelse för mänsklighetens överlevnad.

För att förstå de ofta värdeladdade och idédrivna beteendena involverade i miljörelaterade förändringsprocesser använder jag mig av institutionell teori, en icke-reduktionistisk organisationsteori innehållande ett antal, i sammanhanget passande begrepp. Jag kombinerar institutionell teori med en positionering i det ”starka” hållbarhetsparadigmet, vilket ger ett analytiskt ramverk som betonar betydelsen av divergent, snarare än konvergent, förändring av industriell praktik.

Följaktligen är denna avhandlings syfte att, ur ett institutionellt perspektiv, öka förståelsen av tröghet och förändring, relaterat till växthusgasutsläpp och industriella jordbruksaktiviteter. Syftet adresseras i fyra individuella men relaterade papper och en inledande kappa. Kappan presenterar det teoretiska ramverket, metoden, en översikt över artiklarna och en avslutande diskussion av artiklarnas sammanlagda bidrag i relation till litteraturen och avhandlingens syfte.

Avhandlingen använder en fallstudie metodologi för att öka förståelsen av tröghet och förändring relaterat till växthusgasutsläpp. Två förändringsinitiativ relaterade till Statens jordbruksverk, expertmyndigheten på jordbruksområdet, valdes ut och utforskades med kvalitativa metoder. Bägge dessa initiativ riktade sig specifikt emot primärproduktion, där de största utsläppen sker. Det första fallet utgjordes av ett projekt för att skapa en handlingsplan: ett förslag på strategier för att reducera utsläpp från jordbruket. Det andra fallet fokuserade på Jordbruksverkets rådgivningsorganisation, Greppa Näringen, och utgjordes av klimatrådgivning riktat mot lantbrukare. Analysen av fallen sökte bedöma, diskutera och förklara den typ av förändring som eftersträvades.

Resultaten har beskrivits i de fyra artiklarna, där de två första koncentrerade sig på studiet av handlingsplanen och de två senare på klimatrådgivningen. Artiklarna visar hur och varför som konvergent, snarare än divergent, förändring eftersträvades, genom att beskriva olika mekanismer som skapar denna tröghet. Konvergent förändring inbegriper ett fokus på effektivitet eller rådande politiska mål snarare än att minska förekomsten av utsläppsintensiva aktiviteter. I diskussionen av artiklarnas sammanlagda resultat föreslås att förändringsinitiativen bidrar till tröghet inom industrin genom att påverka öppenheten och motivationen gentemot divergent förändring hos andra aktörer.

Avhandlingen bidrar till hållbarhetsfältet genom att ge en institutionell analys av tröghet och förändring på industriell nivå, vilket visar på hur begreppen konvergent/divergent förändring kan användas för att utforska hållbarhetsfrågor. Genom detta exempel kan förändringsprocesser i andra industrier inbegripande andra hållbarhetsfrågor förstås bättre. Utöver detta bidrar avhandlingen till institutionell teori, mer specifikt till diskussionen rörande hållbart entreprenörskap och institutionella logiker. Det förstnämnda bidraget inkluderar förbättrad förståelse av möjliggörande såväl som institutionellt entreprenörskap i fält karakteriserade av institutionell komplexitet, medan det sistnämnda utgörs av konceptualiseringen av konkurrerande institutionella logiker och deras inflytande på översättning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2014. , 86 p.
Series
Studier i företagsekonomi. Serie B, ISSN 0346-8291 ; 86
Keyword [en]
Inertia, climate change, sustainability, agriculture, institutional entrepreneurship, institutional logics, convergent change, divergent change, practice, translation
Keyword [sv]
Tröghet, klimatförändring, hållbarhet, jordbruk, institutionellt entreprenörskap, institutionella logiker, konvergent förändring, divergent förändring, praktik, översättning
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89085ISBN: 978-91-7601-084-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-89085DiVA: diva2:718513
Public defence
2014-06-13, Samhällsvetarhuset, S205h, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-23 Created: 2014-05-21 Last updated: 2017-01-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Examining the Relationship between Emerging and Prevailing Institutional Logics in an Early Stage of Institutional Entrepreneurship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Examining the Relationship between Emerging and Prevailing Institutional Logics in an Early Stage of Institutional Entrepreneurship
2011 (English)In: Journal of Change Management, ISSN 1469-7017, E-ISSN 1479-1811, Vol. 11, no 4, 421-443 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines how potential institutional entrepreneurs in the Swedish policy process construct an emerging institutional logic to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Swedish agricultural sector. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between this emerging logic and the prevailing logics. A case study is used to investigate a project led by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and qualitative methods are applied to reveal how policy makers reflect upon and discuss prevailing goals and templates. The results demonstrate that templates currently in use are handled in four ways: diffusion (or failure) and translation (or failure). Failures occur when translation or diffusion is discussed but subsequently dropped, due to, for example, resistance. The conclusion is that the new logic is less of a divergent break with the prevailing logics and more of a co-mingling containing changed, reused and new templates rationalized by pre-existing as well as new political goals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2011
Keyword
Institutional logics, institutional entrepreneurship, templates in use, climate change, agriculture
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51417 (URN)10.1080/14697017.2011.627365 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-01-20 Created: 2012-01-20 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. The challenge of introducing low-carbon industrial practices: institutional entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The challenge of introducing low-carbon industrial practices: institutional entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector
2014 (English)In: European Management Journal, ISSN 0263-2373, E-ISSN 1873-5681, Vol. 32, no 2, 203-215 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contemporary agricultural practices account for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions. Inspired by the emergent literature on institutional entrepreneurship, we seek to explore mechanisms that affect an actor’s propensity to act in ways that imply suggesting and promoting emission-reducing practice changes. As influences originating outside the organizational field are assumed to constitute such mechanisms, the paper explores their role through a case study of a project run by a public agency. Unlike extant theory, results show that the agency’s propensity to act is not necessarily enhanced by extra-field influences but that such influences also limit the scope for suggesting change that challenges existing industrial practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Institutional entrepreneurship, Divergent change, Institutional logics, Organizational field, extra-field influences, Climate change, Low-carbon practices, Agriculture
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80280 (URN)10.1016/j.emj.2013.06.005 (DOI)000334002800004 ()s2.0-84897598378 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-09-14 Created: 2013-09-14 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Provision of Climate Advice as a Mechanism for Environmental Governance in Swedish Agriculture
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Provision of Climate Advice as a Mechanism for Environmental Governance in Swedish Agriculture
2015 (English)In: Environmental Policy and Governance, ISSN 1756-932X, E-ISSN 1756-9338, Vol. 25, no 5, 356-371 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate mitigation is both a pressing and complex task, and one that frequently requires both participation to involve stakeholders and capacity building to enable them to change their practices. This paper considers whether the provision of climate advice to affected parties could be an effective policy activity in both respects. The article investigates the feasibility and potential influence of providing climate advice by examining the role that such advice has played in the discursive activities of agriculture extension consultants in Sweden. This case demonstrates that, rather than promoting substantial change in practices, the climate issue is used to support conventional efficiency-increasing measures and to change the descriptions of prevailing agricultural activities. We find that the embedding of climate related discourse within agricultural extension and the lack of clear climate mitigation goals for the agricultural sector reduced and adapted the climate issue to enable it to be easily accommodated in the narratives prevailing among farmers, which are well aligned with conventional economic, rather than climate, policy goals. This lock-in could be addressed by establishing clear and radical reduction targets and through the broader involvement of a wider range of stakeholders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015
Keyword
climate change, provision of advice, agricultural extension, discourse, environmental governance
National Category
Business Administration Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89080 (URN)10.1002/eet.1677 (DOI)000363279100005 ()
Note

Originally included in thesis in accepted form.

Available from: 2014-05-21 Created: 2014-05-21 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Micro-level translation of GHG reduction - policy meets industry in the Swedish agriculture sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Micro-level translation of GHG reduction - policy meets industry in the Swedish agriculture sector
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Reducing GHG emissions is an urgent challenge for mankind. However, as aggregate emissions continue to rise, necessary changes in industrial practices are lagging behind. The article addresses this discrepancy by exploring how the issue of GHG reduction is channeled from policy to industry, in oneof the more GHG intensive sectors, agriculture. We adopt the translation perspective to outline how the climate issue travels between contexts. Our study explores the activities involved as advisors, functioning as translating agents within Swedish agri-policy, inform producers about the issue of GHG reduction. The study sheds new light on the effectiveness of mitigation policy in promoting practicechange and illustrates how translation is an analytical framework suitable for studying this within different industries.

National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89081 (URN)
Available from: 2014-05-21 Created: 2014-05-21 Last updated: 2017-01-27Bibliographically approved

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