Dr. Moritz Petersen


Senior Researcher


Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

DOI: doi:10.1108/IJOPM-03-2019-0181 

Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore how big-picture sustainability strategies are translated into tangible product development efforts. The authors assert that most sustainable products currently remain confined to niche markets and do not permeate the mainstream. The authors propose that there is a missing link between strategic sustainability goals and operational product development initiatives. The authors establish a path to bridging this gap. Design/methodology/approach The manuscript is based on a qualitative research design with a sample of 32 companies. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with product developers as well as secondary data analysis. Findings The authors delineate three empirically derived approaches firms from the sample pursue to develop sustainable products. The authors identify a phenomenon that the authors’ call the fallacy of trickle-down product sustainability. The authors find that only one of the three approaches – codification – is equipped to successfully turn strategic sustainability targets into authentic sustainable products. Practical implications This study provides an actionable guide to executives and product developers with respect to bridging the gap between often elusive sustainability aspirations and tangible product improvements via the process of rigorous codification. Originality/value This study provides a novel and unique perspective into strategy, sustainability and product development. The authors synthesize the extant literature on sustainable product development, juxtapose the emergent structure with primary interview data, and elaborate the resource-based view (RBV) to provide theoretical and practical implications. The authors establish scalability as the missing RBV capability of many attempts toward mass–market compatibility of more sustainable products.

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Open reference in new window "The fallacy of “trickle-down” product sustainability: Translating strategic sustainability targets into product development efforts"

DOI: 10.1109/TEM.2019.2914262 

Abstract: Human factors, such as an individual's competences and attitudes, have a decisive impact on the results of product development processes, especially in companies with small product development teams. Sustainability considerations further amplify this impact as such a multifaceted issue results in an extra layer of product requirements and hard-to-make decisions on tradeoffs. This paper explores the interplay of corporate sustainability and the individual approaches product developers exhibit toward improving product sustainability. For this purpose, a grounded theory study in the German consumer goods industry is conducted. Thirty-two expert interviews with product development managers and extensive secondary data are collected and analyzed. It is found that the corporate sustainability approach heavily influences how developers comprehend sustainability and how they conceptualize it for their product portfolio. Explicitly, the products considered for sustainability improvements, their innovation level, and the use of design stereotypes to signal sustainability improvements emerge as key decision levers. The findings emphasize that the human factors in the context of product development, specifically concerning sustainability, warrant more academic attention. Also, it is demonstrated that companies need to be aware of the organizational environment which they are providing for their developers when pushing for product sustainability.

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Open reference in new window "How Corporate Sustainability Affects Product Developers’ Approaches Toward Improving Product Sustainability"

DOI: 10.1515/itit-2017-0031 

Abstract: Driven by successful pilot projects in supply chain and logistics, Blockchain has become one of the industry's latest technology hypes. In this paper, we cut through the hype and shed light on the expectations of industry professionals towards the benefits and challenges of Blockchain. Also, we categorize current Blockchain applications that are expected to provide tangible benefits for supply chain and logistics processes. To explore such potentials, we argue that companies should gain own first-hand experiences through small-scale experiments.

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Open reference in new window "Mapping the Sea of Opportunities: Blockchain in Supply Chain and Logistics"

DOI: 10.1080/16258312.2017.1369841 

Abstract: Consistently bringing sustainable products to market is a preeminent challenge to effectively pursuing the triple bottom line. As most companies lack the know-how and resources to develop and launch sustainable products, they are dependent on trading partners. Resource Integration and Resource Dependence Theory posit that reliance on external trading partners dictates careful governance. Effective collaboration with supply chain partners can theoretically mitigate the threat of resource dependence. The current manuscript, grounded in interview data from the consumer goods industry, however, identifies a persistent collaboration deficit. Rather than working together, many firms try to coerce suppliers into improving sustainability. Coercion sours relationships, impeding joint sustainability efforts and harming progress towards product sustainability. The good news: a few companies are beginning to invest in trust as a collaborative governance mechanism to broaden collaboration and reduce the costs of sustainable product development.

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Open reference in new window "The Ties That Bind: How a Collaboration Deficit Impedes the Development of Sustainable Products"

DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.05.127 

Abstract: Developing more sustainable products provides an opportunity to address wasteful consumption practices. Yet, despite their best efforts to improve product sustainability, many companies admit to lacking a comprehensive sustainability strategy. Further, they have only limited insights into their consumers' expectations towards product sustainability. This manuscript presents the findings of a behavioral experiment on consumers' reactions towards companies' development efforts. We investigate how the development efforts “more sustainable materials” and “green exterior design” influence consumers' perceptions of product quality, sustainability, and aesthetics for two exemplary products. In summary, both efforts signal higher product sustainability to consumers. Yet, this may come at a cost as these changes may also signal impediments with respect to quality and aesthetics. We juxtapose our findings with signaling theory to derive implications for research and practice.

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Open reference in new window "Dancing in the dark: Challenges for product developers to improve and communicate product sustainability"

DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.04.003 

Abstract: Bioplastics play an increasingly important role for consumer products. These new materials might increase product sustainability but they are currently confined to niche markets. While research has gained important insight into the technical challenges, few studies to date explore the behavioral aspects for product developers as they move to employ bioplastics in their development efforts. This manuscript reports the findings of a grounded inductive study based on interview data with 32 product developers in the consumer goods industry. The Theory of Planned Behavior is employed to guide the research and provide a theoretical background to derive implications. The study finds that behavioral challenges impede the increased use of bioplastics. Product developers experience a lack of perceived behavioral control and struggle with doubts about the environmental benefits and incurring trade-offs of bioplastics with respect to the Triple Bottom Line. While product developers are intrinsically motivated to make more use of bioplastics, they often refrain from bringing products to the mass market due to uncertainties of customer receptiveness and fears of greenwashing allegations. Implications for industry and research are detailed.

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Open reference in new window "A Crossroads for Bioplastics: Exploring Product Developers’ Challenges to Move Beyond Petroleum-Based Plastics"

Journal Articles (Professional)


Abstract: Blockchain ist eine neue Technologie, mit deren Hilfe Transaktionen dezentral, manipulationssicher und transparent für alle Mitglieder eines Netzwerks abgewickelt werden können. Besonders im Finanzsektor wird Blockchain derzeit als disruptive Schlüsseltechnologie gehandelt, deren Anwendungsmöglichkeiten jedoch weit über die Branche hinausgehen. Um das Potenzial von Blockchain für Produktion und Logistik zu verdeutlichen, werden in diesem Beitrag exemplarische Anwendungsfälle vorgestellt.

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Open reference in new window "Blockchains für Produktion und Logistik: Grundlagen, Potenziale und Anwendungsfälle"


Conference Proceedings

Abstract: Blockchain is an emergent technology concept that enables the decentralized and im-mutable storage of verified data. Over the last few years, it has increasingly attracted the attention of different industries. Especially in Fintech, Blockchain is hyped as the silver bullet that might overthrow today’s payment handling. Slowly, the logistics and supply chain man-agement community realizes how profoundly Blockchain could affect their industry. To shed light on this emerging field, we conducted an online survey and asked logistics professionals for their opinion on use case exemplars, barriers, facilitators, and the general prospects of Blockchain in logistics and supply chain management. We found most of our participants are fairly positive about this new technology and the benefits it offers. However, factors like the hierarchical level, Blockchain experiences, and the industry sector have a significant impact on the participants’ evaluation. We reason that the benefits over existing IT solutions must be carved out more carefully and use cases must be further explored to get a rather conservative industry, like logistics, more excited about Blockchain.

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Open reference in new window "Blockchain in Logistics and Supply Chain: Trick or Treat?"

Book Chapters

Abstract: In light of increasingly integrated supply chains relying on decentralized production units and new process technology (Kersten et al. 2017; Hoberg et al. 2019), outstanding maintenance strategies can mean a cutting edge for companies (Roy et al. 2016; Bokrantz et al. 2017). Thus, it comes as no surprise that maintenance makes its comeback in the center of managerial attention after it had been considered a necessary evil to be outsourced for decades (Faccio et al. 2014; Wibowo et al. 2016). Also, from an economic viewpoint, maintenance is by no means to be underestimated: the global aircraft maintenance market alone is projected to grow from $75 bn. in 2018 to $115 bn. until 2028 (Cooper et al. 2018).

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Open reference in new window "Exploring How Independent Maintenance Service Providers Decide about Competence Building"

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-24576-4_7 

Abstract: Die digitale Transformation hat das Potenzial, die Supply Chains zu verändern wie selten zuvor. Eine Vielzahl neuer digitaler Technologien eröffnet kaum abzusehende Möglichkeiten für die Optimierung der Prozesse entlang der Wertschöpfungskette: Der 3-D-Druck erlaubt die kundenspezifische Produktion eines einzigartigen Produkts in Serienqualität, vernetzte Sensoren kontrollieren die Bestände in Regalen oder Kühlschränken samt voll automatisierter Nachbestellungen, und Big Data unterstützt Unternehmen, ihre Lieferfahrzeuge so durch den Verkehr zu führen, dass sie beim Kunden eintreffen, wenn dieser tatsächlich zu Hause ist. Unternehmen aller Branchen müssen die Chancen der Digitalisierung ganzheitlich betrachten und verstehen, wie sie ihre Supply Chain 4.0 realisieren können.

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Open reference in new window "Die Implikationen digitaler Technologien für die Supply Chain 4.0"

Abstract: In 2016, the United Nations put forward 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aim at securing global sustainable development on the economic, social, and environmental level. The SDG include such diverse goals as limiting climate change or establishing decent working conditions and are meant to function as a political agenda with a horizon of 15 years (UNDP 2016). It is established that supply chain management and logistics have a considerable influence on global sustainable development (Thorlakson et al. 2018). For example, emissions from transport operations are a large contributor to climate change (McKinnon 2018).

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Open reference in new window "The Promise: Signaling Sustainability in Supply Chain Relationships"

Abstract: Sustainability becomes increasingly important for all business areas. When it comes to the development of sustainable products it is necessary to have a clear under- standing of what makes a product sustainable. Such a definition has not emerged yet; this calls for taking a different angle when approaching the problem. This paper presents the results of an experimental study within the field of sustainable product development to investigate the influence of different stakeholders on development decisions.

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Open reference in new window "Sustainability-Related Considerations in Joint Product Development Projects: An Experimental Approach"