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Policy network creation as a driver of energy-efficient industry
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7694-7397
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Energy Sector Management, ISSN 1750-6220, E-ISSN 1750-6239, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 143-157Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines a Swedish municipality that has started addressing energy efficiency in local businesses by creating a network involving 60 companies showing that the network has too broad a problem definition, which does not help unify the involved actors.

Purpose

This paper studies a Swedish municipality that wants to go beyond its own operations, involving the local industry in saving energy to improve the environment. The paper aims to analyse the experiences and practical implications of using policy networks for implementing energy-efficiency measures in private industrial companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers closely followed a Swedish municipality and its work to engage the local industry in energy-efficiency activities. Participatory observations of meetings and workshops and semi-structured interviews with involved actors were conducted.

Findings

The study examines a Swedish municipality that has started addressing energy efficiency in local businesses by creating a network involving 60 companies. This network was tested in relation to four hypotheses on how policy networks develop. The study finds that the network has too broad a problem definition, which does not help unify the involved actors. The companies’ involvement is based on passive participation in which they are receivers of information. The network has been unable to use a social control mechanism because there have been few company-to-company meetings. In conclusion, for a network to be an efficient policy tool, its structure is as important as the ideas for action and clear goals.

Research limitations/implications

This case study of one Swedish municipality allows for analytical but not statistical generalization.

Originality/value

The paper uniquely calls for reflection on whether municipalities and local authorities have enough competence to drive industrial energy efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2017. Vol. 11, no 1, p. 143-157
Keywords [en]
Industry, Governance, Interviews, Urban, Energy efficiency, Metagovernor, Participatory observations, Policy network
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147745DOI: 10.1108/IJESM-10-2015-0004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85017530460OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-147745DiVA, id: diva2:1204736
Conference
2018/05/09
Available from: 2018-05-09 Created: 2018-05-09 Last updated: 2019-01-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Energy efficiency in Swedish SMEs: Exploring barriers, knowledge creation and the role of municipal energy efficiency programs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy efficiency in Swedish SMEs: Exploring barriers, knowledge creation and the role of municipal energy efficiency programs
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Energieffektivitet i svenska små och medelstora företag : En undersökning av hinder, skapande av kunskap och kommunernas energieffektiviseringsprogram
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to analyze how municipalities support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their work to improve their energy efficiency. The purpose of this study is to increase the current understanding of how the methods and tools used by municipalities to assist SMEs in improving their energy efficiency influence the end results in terms of achieved energy efficiency, and how knowledge related to energy efficiency is created within SMEs. This thesis consists of two separate case studies that examine how two municipalities used a network approach to support SMEs in implementing energy efficient measures.  

The theoretical frameworks of policy networks, barriers, communities of practice (COPs), and energy efficiency networks were used in this thesis. The findings are presented in the appended four articles. An overall conclusion is that networks that provide information in the form of a report with technological solutions as the only output are less likely to reach the agreed-upon goals. To achieve a more successful result, SMEs must be active in the process; they must be allowed to create knowledge and understanding that they perceive as valuable and relevant for themselves. Another important result is that information is not automatically transformed by SMEs into knowledge. In fact, SMEs need a platform from which they can negotiate the received information and use it to create knowledge through practice and social interaction. Finally, it was found that the type of technological solution is not insignificant; the type of energy efficient measure to be implemented and its level of complexity affect how a municipality should support energy efficiency work among SMEs. 

Abstract [sv]

För att policyprogram och riktlinjer ska kunna utformas så att de leder till uppfyllandet av miljömål behöver kommuner samverkar med bland annat det lokala näringslivet. En form av samverkan som har börjat användas av kommuner är nätverk där man för samman företag med olika experter som tillsammans med kommunala representanter arbetar med att införa energieffektiva lösningar i dessa företag.

Syftet med denna avhandling är att studera hur kommuner har stöttat små -och medelstora företag (SMF) i deras arbete med att införa energieffektiva lösningar i sina verksamheter. Detta undersöks med hjälp av fallstudier av hur två olika kommuner har arbetat med att ge stöd till lokala SMF. Dessa två fall beskriver två olika sätt som kommunerna har jobbat med detta. Fokus i avhandlingen har varit inte bara på hur kommunerna har valt att stödja SMF utan också på hur SMF skapar kunskap och tar till sig information. Dessutom undersöks vilka faktorer i form av så kallade barriärer som kan tänkas hindra SMF från att införa energieffektiva lösningar i sina verksamheter.

För analys av den insamlade empirin så har olika teorier använts såsom policynätverk, barriärer, Community of Practice (COP) och energieffektiviseringsnätverk. Resultaten beskrivs mer utförligt i de bifogade artiklarna. Resultaten pekar på att nätverk där bara information i form av en rapport delges SMF så är sannolikheten låg att målen kommer att uppfyllas. Detta beror på att SMF inte automatiskt omvandlar delgiven information till användbar kunskap. Istället behöver kommuner skapa en plattform där SMF får möjligheter att arbeta med den delgivna informationen på ett aktivt sätt i ett relevant sammanhang som de anser att de har nytta av. På så sätt kan värdefull kunskap genereras via praktiker och sociala sammanhang. Ett annat viktigt resultat är att typ av teknisk lösning och komplexitetsnivå inte är oviktiga utan dessa måste kommunerna ta hänsyn till när de skapar olika policyprogram som stöd till SMF för att kunna uppnå energieffektiviseringsmål.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. p. 92
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 742
Keywords
Policy programs, energy efficiency networks, Community of Practice (COPs), barriers, knowledge creation, Policyprogram, energieffektiviseringsnätverk, Community of Practice (COP), barriärer, skapande av kunskap
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147760 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-147760 (DOI)9789176852897 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-08, TEMCAS, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Palm, JennyBackman, Fredrik

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