From ‘Less Landfilling’ to ‘Wasting Less’: Societal narratives, socio-materiality, and organizations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Abstract in Undetermined
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to show that organizational change depends on societal narratives - narratives about the character, history, or envisioned future of societies. Design/methodology/approach - A case study of a Swedish municipal waste management company serves as an illustration. Findings - Swedish waste governance is powered by two main narratives: "less landfilling" and "wasting less". Less landfilling has been the dominant narrative for several decades, but wasting less is gaining momentum, and a new narrative order is establishing itself. This new narrative order significantly redefines the socio-material status of waste and imposes major changes on waste management organizations. Research limitations/implications - Based on the case of waste governance in Sweden, the authors conclude that organizations should be aware that societal narrative affects the legitimacy and nature of their operations; therefore, they must integrate a watch for narrative change in their strategic reflections. Originality/value - This paper establishes the relevance of the notion of societal narrative to understand organizational change.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Society, Narratives, Sweden, Waste management, Social change, Sustainability, Organizational change, Organizational processes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-314
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Hervé Corvellec & Johan Hultman


Project: ResearchInterdisciplinary research, Internal collaboration (LU), Collaboration with industry

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