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Incorporating environmental concern in product development: A study of project characteristics
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management. Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Industrial Engineering and Management.
2006 (English)In: Management of environmental quality, ISSN 1477-7835, E-ISSN 1758-6119, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 421-436Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The paper aims at providing empirically-based insights into product development when environmental performance requirements are addressed. The purpose is to investigate characteristics of product development projects when environmental performance requirements are considered.

Design/methodology/approach – The research was carried out as in-depth case studies of two commercial product development projects. Data was primarily collected via open-ended semi-structured interviews. Other sources of data include written project material, such as minutes from meetings, project and product specifications, company-internal education material, etc. A few project meetings were also attended.

Findings – The paper indicates that the characteristics of product development projects differ when environmental performance requirements are considered. On the basis of the identified differences a two-dimensional model is suggested. It contains the dimensions “level of ecodesign experience” and “environmental complexity”. The model outlines a tentative contingency framework that can be used for positioning different organisations concerning their level of experience in ecodesign and the challenges they face concerning complexity in the interrelationships between the products and the environment.

Practical implications – The findings presented in the paper provide some insights into the characteristics of projects carried out in organisations in which the “level of ecodesign experience” and “environmental complexity” differ. Aspects related to the two dimensions represented in the model are discussed in the paper. This should support companies to be better prepared for managing the challenges associated with the incorporation of environmental performance requirements into product development projects.

Originality/value – Although different issues have been addressed in earlier ecodesign research, one problem is that ecodesign research often addresses the environmental impacts exclusively, whereas other aspects of product development are omitted or only briefly discussed. Taking the starting point in a number of elements that have been outlined in the literature as representing vital areas of concern in product development, this paper contributes to the understanding of how development organisations consider environmental performance requirements in the product development projects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 17, no 4, p. 421-436
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-4922DOI: 10.1108/14777830610670508OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-4922DiVA, id: diva2:35742
Available from: 2007-12-19 Created: 2007-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, Glenn

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