Product-oriented environmental management. A study of capability building, stakeholder orientation and continuous improvement regarding products' environmental characteristics in firms

F.G.A. de Bakker

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Companies are increasingly giving attention to the environmental characteristics of their products. This book focuses on the ways in which large, proactive, firms could develop and maintain product-oriented environmental management (POEM), both at the strategic and the operational level. POEM is defined as a systematic approach for organising a firm in such a way that improving the environmental performance of its products across their life cycles becomes an integrated part of operations and strategy. The development of the POEM concept is outlined in the context of corporate environmental management. POEM is a relatively new concept, for which a firm needs to develop and maintain specific organisational capabilities, and in which various stakeholders’ interests have to be continually addressed. Three appropriate theoretical perspectives therefore are discussed; (1) a resource-based view and a capability perspective, (2) a stakeholder approach, and (3) insights from quality management and continuous improvement. As none of these three theoretical perspectives can fully account for the organisation of POEM itself, they are integrated to be applied in the empirical part of the research. This leads to the construction of two central theoretical frameworks: the POEM matrix and the capability cycle. The POEM matrix identifies relevant system-technical and social-dynamic organisational elements at both operational and strategic levels. The capability cycle describes the continuous process of developing and maintaining capabilities in order to address stakeholder demands. Based on these frameworks, results from five case studies in large, proactive, companies are presented and analysed. Important stimuli and barriers for a firm to engage in POEM are identified. The book shows that it is important to consider the organization of POEM, at the individual company level, as a process in which balancing different stakeholder interests in a continuous way is essential. Other important recommendations include to involve a cross-functional team and to address both system-technical and social-dynamic organizational issues. Obtaining a clear view of the potential competitive advantages associated with the concept, and maintaining a broad perspective within which POEM is considered in terms of corporate responsibility and sustainable industrial development can also be helpful. In this entire process, managerial decision-makers have a central role.
Original languageUndefined
  • Brack, Antoni, Supervisor
  • Fisscher, O.A.M., Supervisor
Award date11 May 2001
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs90-365-1567-X
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2001


  • IR-89709
  • METIS-123961

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