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How to organize for local resource generation

Publication Type:

Collection (Editor)


Business sustainability I. Management, technology and learning fro individuals organisations and society in turbulent environment


School of Engineering - University of Minho, Guimarães, Portugal


The generation of resources is a central issue for the sustainability of companies. This paper deals with two research questions: “Is decentralized generation of resources a possible way to reach sustainability in modern work life?” and “What prerequisites must be formed by organizations and managers to reach decentralized generation of resources?” The theoretical basis for this discussion is the complex adaptive systems theory. Three requirements for sustainable decentralized resource production are deduced: worker’s autonomy, worker’s integration in the organization, and demands on increased fitness. The empirical basis for answering these questions is the study of four different Pharmacy-districts, each with a different organizational solution. Three sources of data are used: interviews with the four Pharmacy-district managers; a questionnaire to all employees, and the balance scorecard of the company. Two of the districts may have reached an unbalance on the system level between autonomy and integration. The other two districts have similar scores of medium for both autonomy and feeling of integration. One of the balanced districts has also a manager focusing bottom-up change processes. This district has both the strongest resource generation and a leading position in increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction and, thus, sustainability. A simple model is formulated based on complex systems theory and tested in real life: Decentralized resource generation is one way of obtaining sustainability; co-existence of both autonomy and integration of employees, combined with a leadership of transformative character, all encourage this. The article may inspire researchers, managers, consultants and workers to use this new perspective on organizations and sustainability.


author = {Tomas Backstr{\"o}m},
title = {How to organize for local resource generation},
isbn = {978-972-8692-48-3},
editor = {Goran D Putnik and Paulo {\~A}vila},
pages = {30--38},
month = {November},
year = {2010},
publisher = {School of Engineering - University of Minho, Guimar{\~A}\textsterlinges, Portugal},
url = {}