Catalyzing alignment processes

Erik Hagelskjær Lauridsen, Ulrik Jørgensen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    This paper describes how environmental management systems (EMS) spur the circulation of processes that support the constitution of environmental issues as specific environ¬mental objects and objectives. EMS catalyzes alignmentprocesses that produce coherence among the different elements involved in societal and industrial environmental awareness and improvements. The coordination of these elements – covered by the notion of coherence – is seen as the most important mechanism for bringing about a change in environmental impact. The elements comprise of regulatory regimes and available technology, the networks of environmental professionals that work in the environmental organisation, in consulting and regulatory enforcement, and dominating business cultures. These have previously been identified in the literature as individually significant in relation to the evolving environmental agendas. They are here used to describe the context in which environmental management is implemented. Based on findings from contributions to a research program studying the implementation and impact of EMS in different settings, we highlight the diverse roles that these systems play in the Thai context. EMS may over time and in combination with other social processes establish more aligned and standardized environmental performance between countries. However, examples of the introduction of environmental management suggests that EMS’ only plays a minor role in developing the actual environmental objectives and following this also in setting the agenda for companies’ environmental focus. The paper develops this argument through a number of empirical examples supported by a theoretical framework focusing on the complex interactions involved. This framework stresses how the EMS are dependent of the context they are implemented in and how the changing context is reflected in the environmental objectives that are established and prioritised. Our argument is, that the ability of the standard to achieve an impact is dependant on the constitution of ’coherent’ environmental issues in the context, where the management system is applied.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEMP-workshop
    Number of pages18
    Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
    PublisherDUCED I&UA
    Publication date2004
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    EventEMP-workshop - 'Roligheden' - Copenhagen
    Duration: 1 Jan 2004 → …


    City'Roligheden' - Copenhagen
    Period01/01/2004 → …


    Dive into the research topics of 'Catalyzing alignment processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this