Greening operations: an investigation of environmental decision making

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This PhD thesis belongs to three main knowledge domains: operations management, environmental management, and decision making. Having the automotive industry as the key sector, the investigation was undertaken aiming at deepening the understanding of environmental decision making processes in the operations function. The central research question for this thesis is ?Why and how do manufacturing companies take environmental decisions? This PhD research project used a case study research strategy supplemented by secondary data analysis and the testing and evaluation of a proposed systems thinking model for environmental decision making. Interviews and focus groups were the main methods for data collection. The findings of the thesis show that companies that want to be in the environmental leadership will need to take environmental decisions beyond manufacturing processes. Because the benefits (including financial gain) of non-manufacturing activities are not clear yet the decisions related to product design, supply chain and facilities are fully embedded with complexity, subjectivism, and intrinsic risk. Nevertheless, this is the challenge environmental leaders will face - they may enter in a paradoxical state of their decisions – where although the risk of going greener is high, the risk of not doing it is even higher.
Date of AwardFeb 2011
Original languageEnglish


  • Green operations
  • automotive industry
  • environmental decision making
  • systems thinking
  • environmental strategy and management

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