The public defense of Anna Sannö's doctoral thesis in Innovation and design

Doctoral thesis and Licentiate seminars

Datum: 2017-12-08
Tid: 10.00
Plats: Raspen (Eskilstuna Campus)

The public defense of Anna Sannö's doctoral thesis in Innovation and design will take place at Mälardalen university, room Raspen, Eskilstuna at 10.00 on December 8, 2017.

Title: “Time to change – zipping sustainability into operations”.

Serial number: 243

The faculty examiner is Professor Dr Carsten Reuter, Hochschule Aschaffenburg – University of Applied Sciences, and the examining committee consists of Professor Nader Asnafi, Örebro University; Docent Raine Isaksson, Uppsala University; Docent Jessica Bruch, MDH.

Reserve: Professor Magnus Wiktorsson, MDH


Industry is a key player in the transition to a sustainable society, where manufacturing companies need to respond to the challenges of environmental concerns in several ways. The need for managing environmental technological change in production systems is and will continue to be a challenge for manufacturing companies, as they often tend to focus on short-term priorities to stay economically competitive, rather than developing the organisation to manage longer-term environmental competitiveness.

In accordance with this, the objective of the thesis is to develop an understanding of how to manage environmental technological change in a production system. By identifying four categories of contextual preparedness, these being short-term focused, trade-off prepared, balance-seeking or long-term prepared, the thesis provides perspectives on how to manage change related to time and contextual aspects. The operation managers need to manage the projects by allocating individuals who can work systematically and build a strong knowledge base by collaborating with internal and external stakeholders. It shows that knowledge is not only about technology but also about realising the need for change and developing strong longer-term objectives.

A model is developed to support operations managers with purposeful actions, such as reflecting upon their long-term capabilities and making conscious decisions when to manage their environmental technology change processes regarding their own production system. The model presents how to “zip” sustainability into operations, so as to provide guidance for operations managers on how to systematically manage long-term change in a context that needs to work with multiple time aspects - and priorities. By using the term zip it is emphasised that the long-term developments have to be consciously integrated into the organisation aligned to the short-term needs.

Literature reviews, as well as four empirical case studies, have been conducted in order to explore environmental technological change. In the first two studies, the factors which affect environmental technological change in a production system have been identified. In the two subsequent studies the change processes as such were studied, leading to an increased understanding of how the production system and temporal dimensions influence the change processes. The studies conducted and the results are presented in six appended papers.