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A learning network as a development method – an example of small enterprises and a university working together
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL). Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7139-7338
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL). Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2001 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, E-ISSN 1758-7859, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 14-23Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Describes how the network concept could be used as a development method and to overcome some of the barriers for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to initiate and work with sustainable development questions. The study has been done in close co-operation with managers and employees from small enterprises, where the ISO 14001 work has been initiated and supported through the network, using each other and the network as an arena for joint reflection, support, and as a resource pool. The result from this study indicates that a university-driven learning network makes a difference in the development work of SMEs – as a source for inspiration, in initiating and working with development projects, for reflection, and as a sounding board, and through its effectiveness in acting as a large organisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bradford: MCB University Press , 2001. Vol. 13, no 1, p. 14-23
Keywords [en]
learning, networking, collaborative relationships, ISO 14001, small-to-medium sized enterprises, sustainable development
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-4562DOI: 10.1108/13665620110364736Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84986097808OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-4562DiVA, id: diva2:321985
Note

Title of submitted version: Learning Network as a Development Method – An example of small enterprises and a university working together towards ISO 14001 certifications

Available from: 2010-06-03 Created: 2010-06-03 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is an attempt to improve the understanding of the process of adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations. The thesis is based on two research projects. One project deals with the diffusion of environmental innovations and why they are less successful on the market than other innovations. The other project is about the adoption of environmental innovations by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and how to facilitate the adoption process.There are at least two good reasons why we should support the adoption and diffusion of eco- innovations. One argument from an environmental point of view is that successfully managing the environment is the greatest challenge facing us in the future and the global scenarios for the next decades are not encouraging. Another argument, from an economic point of view, for the need of eco-innovations is that the eco-industry is one of the most growing industries in the world and is likely to be worth around $600 billion worldwide by 2010.However, there are some indications that environmental innovations have a difficult time in gaining success in the marketplace and in spreading among potential customers, possibly more difficulty than some other kinds of innovations have.The overall objective of this thesis is to generate knowledge regarding the adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations. One purpose is to add to our understanding of environmental innovations and to their similarities and differences to “other” innovations. Another purpose is to understand and describe how networks can be used to facilitate the adoption of environmental innovations. The main research questions that I try to answer are:1) How can environmental innovations be classified? 2) Are environmental innovations less successful on the market than other innovations? 3) What are the main reasons for the differences in market success between environmental innovations and other innovations? 4) How could networks be used as a development method to facilitate the adoption of environmental innovations by SMEs?Several different methodological approaches have been used to develop a broader picture of different types of innovations and their development, adoption and diffusion. Two different approaches were used during the first project, dealing with the diffusion and market success of environmental innovations. The first one is mainly based on using questionnaires. The other approach is qualitative and based on case studies. Through a series of case studies of innovators and innovations we tried to achieve a better picture of the actual phenomena.The second project is about the adoption of an organizational environmental innovation by SMEs using a network. Since the goal of this project has been not only to observe the phenomena of the implementation of environmental innovation by SMEs using a network, but also to contribute to the development process, an action-oriented research approach was used in this project.Three main conclusions can be drawn on the basis of this thesis. Firstly, the new innovation classification system developed in this thesis improves the possibilities for distinguishing between innovations that are similar but not identical. A very large proportion of the analyzed eco-innovations are often classified as product redesign innovations. With the help of the new classification system it is possible to discern different types among those classified as product re-Vdesign innovations. Some are rather simple and accordingly classified as product care innovations, while others are classified as minor or major product improvements or even functional innovations. Secondly, our empirical studies results show that the environmental innovations are less successful on the market than “other” innovations. The empirical studies also show that there are mainly three factors which are especially important to consider in the improvement of environmental innovations’ marketing success. These three are: “Realism while evaluating one’s own innovation”, “Access to capital” and “Utilization of network”.Thirdly, to adopt an environmental innovation is not an easy task for small organizations, such as SMEs. But to be a part of and use a network is a possible way to facilitate the adoption process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2007. p. 250
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1544 ; 2007:42
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-5404 (URN)
Available from: 2010-09-10 Created: 2010-08-23 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
2. Networks as a means of supporting the adoption of organisational innovations in SMEs: The case of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) based on ISO 14001
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Networks as a means of supporting the adoption of organisational innovations in SMEs: The case of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) based on ISO 14001
2004 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2004. p. 37
Series
Licentiate thesis, ISSN 1402-1757 ; 2004:57
Keywords
Miljöledningssystem
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-604 (URN)2082/946 (Local ID)2082/946 (Archive number)2082/946 (OAI)
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Note

ISRN: LTU-LIC--04/57--SE

Available from: 2007-04-11 Created: 2007-04-11 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved

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