Inderscience Publishers

Driving environmental innovation with corporate storytelling: is radical innovation possible without incoherence?

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

Concepts that until recently have been antagonistic to common business language, such as industrial ecology, are now being used in the stories that companies use to express their identity. In this article the relationship between the new, bold business language and environmental innovation is discussed. The analysis is based on a longitudinal case study of HAG – Norway and Scandinavia's leading office-chair manufacturer. The study suggests that incorporating industrial ecology into the corporate saga stimulates the incremental environmental innovations implied by the concept by contributing to the coherence of the story. The radical environmental innovation implied by industrial ecology is, however, hindered by such integration. Radical innovation takes discontinuity and confrontation with the dominating story of what a company is, has been and will be.

Keywords: corporate storytelling, industrial ecology, environmental innovation, organisational change, sensemaking, corporate saga, radical innovation, coherence, Norway, office chair manufacturing

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