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Paper info: Processes of change in environmental activity patterns


Processes of change in environmental activity patterns


Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 35th IMP-conference in Paris, France in 2019.


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Prior research has warned that contemplating environmental issues only at the organisational or dyadic levels can lead to unfavourable overall environmental outcomes. There have been calls for more network level research focusing on sustainability issues. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, the paper aims to develop an understanding of the processes leading to changes in organisations’ environmental management practices and the subsequent environmental activity patterns. Environmental management practices refer to activities employed by management with the aim of reducing the organisation’s own and/or other organisations’ impact on the environment (such as on water, soil, air and biodiversity). The second and related objective is to enhance understanding of how activities and events build processes. To explore these objectives empirically, a multiple embedded network case study was undertaken in the Western Australia pork and dairy industries using data from 34 in-depth interviews and a documentary review. The theoretical foundation employed is the business network approach developed by the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group. Fourteen process types were identified occurring in series and parallel over time resulting in the ‘clean and green’ industry reputations. A key process was decades of enacting and enforcing environmental legislation, which provided a slow, but steady, momentum. The paper contributes to prior network dynamics studies by focusing on changes in the activity dimension, whereas many extant studies investigate changes in network structure, such as changes in network position and changes in actors included in the network. The paper theoretically and empirically clarifies the relationships between events, activities, processes and sub-processes in processual research. Finally, the paper provides a categorisation system for processes of change in environmental management practices. Network dynamics, Environmental sustainability, business networks, network process analysis.