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Inventing the intervention: how organizations deal with alternative approaches to eco-management
Erasmus Centre for Environmental Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Erasmus Centre for Environmental Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
2000 (English)In: Eco-Management and Auditing, ISSN 0968-9427, E-ISSN 1099-0925, Vol. 7, no 2, 67-73 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The concept of translation captures the essence of the way in which innovative ideas diffuse to organizations: rather than being transplanted in the same way in every organization, the idea is reformulated into a shape that fits the adapting organization. For instance, pollution prevention, which consists of a conceptual framework as well as a set of organizational routines, is an idea that is translated by adopting organizations into shapes that can differ substantially.

When intervening in organizations to implement the idea of pollution prevention, the intervention strategy should be sensitive to this translation process. In this paper, we will present the cases of two chemical firms who participated in an action research project aimed at diffusing the concept of pollution prevention. The way in which members from each of these organizations (re)acted in this process reveals some important points about organizational change, organizational culture and interventions.

  • In the translation process, organizational members reframe an outside idea into concepts and routines that fit with existing practices. Thus, introducing a radically new concept can result in piecemeal organizational change or even no change at all.

  • Differences in the translation process are not determined by the technologies employed by an organization; it is the organizational culture that seems to be more important.

  • Involving governmental agencies in the intervention strategy complicates the translation process: in addition to the firm, the agencies seek to shape the idea of pollution prevention into concepts and routines that fit their own existing practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 7, no 2, 67-73 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77590DOI: 10.1002/1099-0925(200006)7:2<67::AID-EMA124>3.0.CO;2-DOAI: diva2:528037
Available from: 2012-05-23 Created: 2012-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Baas, Leo
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