EASY AS ONE -TWO- THREE? : A qualitative study on three factors that affect sustainability in heavy industry organizations

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Leadership, innovation and culture are three aspects identified by previous research to have an impact on the organization's sustainability work. Sustainability work is something that today almost all organizations engage in, in order to both survive long term but also to limit their impacts on the planet and the humans living there. Sustainability work as defined in this thesis to consist of three parts which are economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability. In order to perform successful work, all parts must be included.  This thesis is investigating what role leadership, innovation and culture have in organizations' sustainability work, with a focus on Swedish organizations within the heavy industry. To do this the thesis is using previously presented theories in combination with eight semi-structured interviews. The interviews are performed with sustainability managers and advisors operating within the Swedish heavy industry. The result of this thesis is presented using a thematic analysis where 11 themes are identified and presented. These themes are furthermore analyzed and connected to the theory with the aim to answer the research question.  The purpose of the thesis is furthermore to create a deeper understanding and knowledge about these factors and their role in organizational sustainability work. The goal of providing a deeper understanding and knowledge is that it will lead to more successful sustainability work.  The conclusion of this thesis is the identified themes that could be connected to all three factors, leadership, innovation and culture. These themes were found to play an important role in organizational sustainability work. It is important for Swedish organizations within the heavy industry to be aware of the factors and themes are well as knowing how to handle them, in order to reach successful sustainability work.  In the conclusion of this thesis, there is also provided a few practical recommendations for organizations based on this research. As well as advice for further research and limitations in the thesis. 

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