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Images of environmental management: competing metaphors in focus group discussions of Swedish environmental quality objectives.
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research. Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (English)In: Environmental Management, ISSN 0364-152X, E-ISSN 1432-1009, Vol. 49, no 4, 776-787 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In managing environmental problems, several countries have chosen the management by objectives (MBO) approach. This paper investigates how focus group participants from the Swedish environmental administration used metaphors to describe the mode of organization needed to attain environmental objectives. Such analysis can shed light on how an MBO system is perceived by actors and how it works in practice. Although the Swedish government intended to stimulate broad-based cooperation among many actors, participants often saw themselves as located at a certain "level," i.e., "higher" or "lower," in the MBO system-that is, their conceptions corresponded to a traditional, hierarchical interpretation of MBO. Prepositions such as "in" and "out" contributed to feelings of inclusion and exclusion on the part of MBO actors. However, horizontal metaphors merged with vertical ones, indicating ongoing competition for the right to interpret how the system of environmental objectives should best be managed. The paper concludes that any organization applying MBO could benefit from discussing alternate ways of talking and thinking about its constituent "levels."

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2012. Vol. 49, no 4, 776-787 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76378DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9816-7ISI: 000302339300002PubMedID: 22350368OAI: diva2:514166

funding agencies|Swedish Environmental Protection Agency| I-37-03 |

Available from: 2012-04-05 Created: 2012-04-05 Last updated: 2016-06-15

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Wibeck, Victoria
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Centre for Climate Science and Policy ResearchDepartment of Water and Environmental StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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