Sustainability-Based Strategic Decision Making in Product and Service Development
Permanent address of the item is
Kestävän kehityksen mukainen strateginen päätöksenteko tuote- ja palvelukehityksessä
Decision making in product and service development deals with which concepts are developed, which markets are targeted, and what kinds of benefit expectations are directed at the product or service. Previous research has focused on various strategic, technical, market and commercial dimensions of evaluation mainly as part of product development decisions. Increasingly, however, product and service development requires that sustainability is taken into account as early as possible. Previous research has not sufficiently tackled sustainability as part of development decision making, or the unique features of service and system development decisions. This thesis explores how companies can develop their sustainability-based strategic decision making as part of product and service development activities. The objective is increased understanding on the ways in which companies embed sustainability into their decision making and information search. After the introduction, an extensive literature review is presented on sustainable business and how it influences decision making in product and service development. The business model is discussed at length with the focus on influences of sustainability and on new product and service development. Then, the results that were obtained from semi-structured interviews with three case companies are presented. The study indicates that companies can develop their sustainability-based strategic decision making and enable the creation of sustainable business by developing a consistent strategy that places sustainability to the core of operations. Consistent implementation was found to be just as important. In all cases the strategy and implementation took the form of anticipating tightening regulation, then developing capabilities to efficiently comply before other companies and then selling and marketing those offerings to prospective customers. The study found several factors that need to be considered when seeking to the take sustainability better into consideration in the implementation. These factors were task-, decision maker-, elicitation- and aggregation-related.