Who holds the reins in integrated product policy? An individual company as a target of regulation and as a policy maker

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2009-01-23
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Instructions for the author
Organisaatiot ja johtaminen
Organization and Management
Degree programme
57, [83] s.
Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 339
This thesis examines the interdependency and interaction of business and government in product-oriented environmental policy. The relationship of business and government is essential in order to comprehend the functioning of environmental politics and policy. However, the policy researchers frequently treat regulated companies as a homogenous group or overlook the role of business altogether. For its part, the management literature often treats the regulator as “an out-there stakeholder which technically and legally constrains business”. Therefore, the present thesis explores and provides means to open these two black boxes. The starting point and main emphasis is on interventions by the governmental actors. However, interventions are not discussed as one-way relations because while interactions shape actors, actors also shape interactions. Three main questions have been addressed: “What kind of effects do product-oriented environmental policy instruments have on companies?”, “How can these recently introduced policy instruments be evaluated?” and thirdly - and perhaps most importantly -, “How can an individual company infl uence the environmental policy making within a new fi eld of policy?”. In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to combine perspectives from different disciplines: the fi elds of evaluation research, organisation studies and political science offer the most essential sources of previous knowledge used in this thesis. The studies use diverse empirical materials and a combination of methods such as documentary analysis, interviews, descriptive statistics, survey, and participant observation. Most importantly, the results highlight the interdependency of the political institutions and even the most resourceful multinational companies. In all, it is evident that the interaction between the Commission and the business does not consist of just aggressive lobbying, as the popular media has suggested. Secondly, the results demonstrate that the shift in the focus of environmental policy from waste policy towards product-oriented environmental policy is needed in order to promote environmentally friendlier product development and products. In addition to drawing conclusions on the effects of these waste policy and product-oriented environmental policy instruments, this thesis highlights the usefulness of intervention theories in these early evaluations.
Supervising professor
Lovio, Raimo, professor