The change management literature on strategy implementation identifies different dimensions of resistance to change. The contrary view – that of dimensions of acceptance of change when implementing strategy – has received less attention. The purpose of this paper is to explore the implementation of environmental sustainability strategies by Nordic insurers, the role of leadership in implementing these changes, and employee acceptance of change.
For achieving this purpose, this paper reports on an explanatory case study of Nordic non-life insurers, where interviews with insurance executives and specialists were the primary source of data.
The authors have developed simple strategy maps, focusing on insurers’ own operations, product offerings, loss prevention and claims settlements, investments and influence on stakeholders, to show how common elements of environmental strategies are implemented within the insurance industry. The importance of leadership in organizational change is evident in the data, as well as in employees’ positive attitudes towards implementation of environmental sustainability strategies.
The scientific contribution of this paper is the empirical mapping of a hitherto unexplored area of the implementation of environmental sustainability strategies within the Nordic insurance industry, highlighting the leadership role in implementing environmental sustainability strategies and the elements shaping employee acceptance of change when implementing environmental sustainability strategies.
The authors wish to thank Nordic insurance experts and specialists for the permission to be interviewed and the anonymous referees for helpful suggestions that have substantially improved this paper. The authors would also like to thank those partly providing funds for the study, including Landsvirkjun Energy Fund, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur Environmental and Energy Fund, Erasmus Programme of Student Mobility for Study or Placement, Pálmi Jónson Nature Conservation Fund, RioTintoAlcan Community Fund, the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR), Nordic Climate change Adaptation Research Network (NORDCLAD-Net), Nordic Climate Mitigation, Adaptation and Economic Policies (N-CMAEP) Network, School of Business University of Iceland, and SHÍ Student Fund.
Johannsdottir, L., Olafsson, S. and Davidsdottir, B. (2015), "Leadership role and employee acceptance of change: Implementing environmental sustainability strategies within Nordic insurance companies", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 72-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-12-2013-0238
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