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Strategic Renewal Process towards Environmental Sustainability – A Longitudinal Case

Strategic Renewal Process towards Environmental Sustainability – A Longitudinal Case
Jenni Kaipainen, Project researcher, Tampere University
Leena Aarikka-Stenroos, Professor, Tampere University
Valtteri Ranta, Doctoral student, Tampere University

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Strategic Renewal Process towards Environmental Sustainability – A Longitudinal Case

  1. 1. Strategic Renewal Process towards Environmental Sustainability – A Longitudinal Case XXXI ISPIM Innovation conference – Virtual Conference on 7-10 June 2020 Jenni Kaipainen Leena Aarikka-Stenroos Valtteri Ranta Tampere University, Finland
  2. 2. Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems Large 5 year project to study and advance the Circular Economy Transition with research-based knowledge, funded by the Academy of Finland (5 million euros)
  3. 3. Background and motivation for the study Practical need • Many technology and innovation firms are increasingly rethinking their strategies from the environmental perspective. This is because of • The sustainability mega trend (Da Rosa et al. 2013); • Sustainability pressures (Geissdoerfer et al. 2017); • Opportunities for firm competitiveness (Porter and Van Der Linde, 1995). Theoretical background & research gap • Strategy literature has widely explored strategy processes, strategic change and renewal. • More recently, it has provided scattered openings intersecting with e.g. environmentalism, sustainability and circular economy. • However, research by this far is still lacking conclusions on how to manage delivering best results in sustainability (Schrettle et al., 2014), including the implementation of organizational sustainability strategies (da Rosa et al., 2013); More empirical and longitudinal evidence is called for. 6.7.2020 | 3 Need to develop new understanding on the firm-level strategic renewal process in environmental sustainability context.
  4. 4. Approach, RQ and objective • To approach the need originating from both industry issues and theoretical research gaps, we take a processual and longitudinal approach to answer: • The paper's objective • Advancing the theoretical understanding of strategic renewal as a process that integrates environmental sustainability into the innovation and technology firms’ strategies over time.  Enabling managers to harness the overarching strategic renewal processes to develop more environmentally sustainable innovative technology business. 6.7.2020 | 4 RQ: "How strategic renewal process towards environmental sustainability is characterized and structured over time through critical incidents and eras?”
  5. 5. Methodology • To reach the research objective, the study follows qualitative research design aiming for theory development. • Our choice of an extreme case, technological forerunner Neste Oyj, enables uncovering an exceptionally successful strategic renewal process in oil & energy industry. • Longitudinal and multi-sourced data has been gathered between 2000-2019. Access to data, particularly top managers, was very satisfactory. • Analysis and mapping of the strategic renewal is conducted with critical incident technique. 6.7.2020 | 5
  6. 6. Results: Mapping the critical incidents* of strategic renewal process 6.7.2020 | 6 *Most critical incidents, which determine the era changes, marked with blue symbols
  7. 7. • Evaluating the technology (NExBTL) • Foreseeing the market opening and regulation’s development • Risk-taking in strategy • Major investment decisions • Regulation encourages market development; however, resistance in country level regulation • Building competences in renewables, srategic focus to feedstock variety is followed by success in global supply chain • Societal and NGO discussion encourages to develop, persistence in goal- setting and strategy despite the challenges • Renewable business grows and turns profitable • Strategy dialogue leads to renewed strategy and brand marketing • Regulative environment fragmentation and participation in industrial associations increases • R&D and partnering programs become increasingly important. Research competences are applied to aviation business • Strenghts: global supply chain management, feedstock diversification, emotional brand marketing • Importance of partnerships increases, including eg. customers and NGOs • Regulation is more predictable but the national fragmentation of directive regulation still causes trouble • R&D is applied to plastic and polymers business Results: Characteristics of the eras 6.7.2020 | 7 2000 – 2005 Foreseeing and risk-taking 2006 – 2010 Building the base with persistence 2011 – 2014 Visionary turns into profitability 2015 – 2019 Sustainable growth
  8. 8. Results: Strategic sub-process for each era 6.7.2020 | 8 2000 – 2005 Foreseeing and risk-taking 2006 – 2010 Building the base with persistence 2011 – 2014 Visionary turns into profitability 2015 – 2019 Sustainable growth
  9. 9. Conclusions and implications • Key findings: Our longitudinal mapping reveals the structure and characteristics of a 20-year-long strategic renewal process towards environmental sustainability through critical incidents and eras. • Theoretical contributions to several research streams • Strategy process and renewal research as we provide a highly detailed longitudinal case for structuring the process of strategic renewal and build an initial model for strategic renewal process • Sustainability research that has acknowledged the need of transiting towards sustainability but has lacked conclusions on how to manage this transition benefits from our initial model • Practical implications: • The model of strategic renewal process towards sustainability enables companies and policymakers to accelerate renewal towards environmental sustainability and facilitate sustainable business growth on multiple sectors and industries. • Future research: Identification of drivers throughout the renewal process needs more research as they would allow building stronger understanding of accelerating the sustainable strategies; providing more generalizable findings by multiple-case design 6.7.2020 | 9 1. Technology innovation that supports strategic environmental sustainability goals 2. Investment decisions for the production of environmentally sustainable products 3. Extended competence- building to manage sustainability issues from versatile perspectives 4. Internal strategy dialogue for unifying the strategic direction towards environmental sustainability 5. Collaborations with partners who share environmental sustainability values and vision Model for strategic renewal process towards environmental sustainability
  10. 10. Thank you! Questions & Comments?