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Organising Sustainability Competencies through Quality Management: Integration or Specialisation

Vanajah Siva (), Ida Gremyr () and Árni Halldórsson ()
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Vanajah Siva: Industrial Engineering & Management, Jönköping University, 551 11 Jönköping, Sweden
Ida Gremyr: Division of Service Management and Logistics, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
Árni Halldórsson: Division of Service Management and Logistics, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 5, 1-14

Abstract: A significant step in integrating environmental sustainability into daily operations is through product development. One way to achieve such integration of environmental considerations into product development is by relating sustainability competencies to practices of Quality Management. However, practices seem to vary for how competencies within environmental sustainability are organised in order to make sustainability more actionable. This study explores two ways of organising sustainability competencies in product development: integration and specialisation. The organisation of sustainability competency is illustrated through two cases; one case in which sustainability is integrated with the quality management competency, and the other in which a new competency focusing on sustainability has been added as a separate function in product development. It is suggested that the organisation of sustainability competency influences the extent of environmental impact. Further, trade-offs, such as material source versus weight may not be exploited when sustainability is integrated as one area of responsibility for another specialty competency, suggesting a lack of sufficient competency within environmental sustainability to recognise potential trade-offs between—for example—quality and environmental impact.

Keywords: sustainability competencies; sustainable product development; quality management; organising; integration; specialisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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