The ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) standard has been designed to help organizations in the creation of structured mechanisms for continuous improvement in environmental performance. This paper evaluates how ISO 14001 EMS and EMS‐like standards aid organizations in operating continuous source reduction programs by exploring some critical elements for program success. The ISO 14001 standard helps organizations define important EMS elements for continuous source reduction. However, adopting these elements may necessitate cultural changes, the core elements of which are embodied by TQM principles. The cultural changes support complex operational activities aimed at source reduction. Three case study firms are used to evaluate these critical EMS elements. Each firm showed substantially idiosyncratic situations attributable to each organization’s size, history, corporate culture, and technology. Despite the differences, however, the cases highlighted one critical point: employee empowerment, their willingness to make suggestions for improvement, and management’s effort to create employee participation in decision making are critical elements in managing continuous source reduction programs. These initial empirical observations provide some insight into how this cultural change may occur.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2000
Keywords: Environmental management systems; TQM; International standards; Organizational centre
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