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Lea Fobbe's public defense of doctoral thesis

Lea Fobbe, PhD student at the Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, defends her doctoral thesis within the subject Industrial engineering and management. Welcome!

Date: Monday May 29, 2023
Tid: 9:00
Plats: Lilla Jadwiga, 12:108 and zoom

Title: Walking old paths with new perspectives. Stakeholder engagement for organisational sustainability

Supervisors: Professor Per Hilletofth, University of Gävle
Associate Professor Camilla Niss, University of Gävle

Opponent: Professor Niklas Egels Zandén, Göteborgs universitet

Examination committee:
Docent Lisa Melander, Chalmers University of Technology
Docent Anna Heikkinen, Tampere University
Professor Svante Andersson, Halmstad University
Docent Agneta Sundström, University of Gävle (backup member)

Chairman: Professor Gunilla Mårtensson, University of Gävle


Stakeholder engagement has been recognised as one of the main principles for organisational sustainability. However, there is only limited knowledge on the role of stakeholder engagement in evolving organisational sustainability approaches such as sustainable business models (SBM) and circular economy (CE). There is also only fragmented research on how organisations engage with stakeholders and how the engagement needs to be adapted to facilitate the transition to SBMs and CE in relation to existing sustainability approaches focused on organisational sustainability practices (OSP). The purpose of this thesis is therefore to enhance knowledge on stakeholder engagement for organisational sustainability, considering the role, practices and potential to facilitate transitions to SBMs and CE in relation to OSP.

Three research questions drive this thesis which compiles five papers based on four individual studies. The first and the second study concentrate on how organisations engage with stakeholders for OSP and SBMs, applying quantitative and qualitative methods respectively. The third study analyses the role of stakeholder engagement in SBMs, using a systematic literature review. The fourth study explores how stakeholder engagement needs to be adapted for SBMs and CE in relation to OSP, using qualitative methods.

The results reveal the multi-faceted role of stakeholder engagement in SBMs and CE. Engagement practices for SBMs are dependent on the focus and intended outcome, while engagement for CE was extended and levelled up in relation to engagement for OSP. Continuous and changing engagement practices are needed to facilitate the transition to SBMs, and the conceptual understanding of stakeholder engagement needs to be adapted from linear to circular for CE transitions.

This thesis contributes to organisational sustainability, stakeholder theory, business model and CE literature by providing new perspectives on the role, extent, and form of stakeholder engagement for organisational sustainability. For practitioners, insights are offered on how to foster stakeholder engagement and with that move towards organisational sustainability.

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Published by: Camilla Nordin Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2023-04-05
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