Factors for Sustainable Services : Managing Service Sustainability for Municipal Companies within the Swedish Energy Sector
Abstract: The energy sector faces massive challenges regarding climate change. Simultaneously, the energy sector is amid a servitization process oftransitioning and creating new value-offerings to meet customer demand. As customers and institutions demand that business be conducted sustainably, organizations face a do-or-die situation regarding becoming sustainable. With the servitization trend, services constitute a large portion of the value-offerings within the energy sector. Therefore, providing sustainable services is a vital part in increasing the sustainability of the organization. This study explores and identifies factors affecting the sustainability performance of services in municipal organizations within the Swedish energy sector, and whether certain factors have a greater impact than others on the sustainability performance of a service. The study used a mixed method approach to identify sustainability factors as well as rank their importance. For the quantitative data collection, semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore different factors specific to energy services. A descriptive survey was used to investigate the impact of the newfound factors and ultimately rank them accordingly. Through the interviews, 13 overarching factors were found and divided into three sustainability dimensions: economic, environmental, and social sustainability. To assess the importance of each factor, descriptive statistics were used, providing the mean and standard deviation of the different factors. Moreover, the sustainability dimensions were assessed with the use of a one-way anova test to examine if a certain dimension is more important than another regarding sustainability performance. This concluded in no statistical significance between the sustainability dimensions. Of the identified factors, transportation, emissions, and resource-usage was perceived as most important for a service’s sustainability performance. With this knowledge, managers and business developers can create an understanding for what factors affect the sustainability performance of services. The study shows that the need for a holistic approach is needed as the organization, customers, and other stakeholders surrounding the service are vital actors affecting the sustainability of a service.
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