Conceptualising "coupling" for sustainability implementation in the industrial sector: a review of the field and projection of future research opportunities

Kunz, N. C., Moran, C. J. and Kastelle, T. (2013) Conceptualising "coupling" for sustainability implementation in the industrial sector: a review of the field and projection of future research opportunities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 53 69-80. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.040


Author Kunz, N. C.
Moran, C. J.
Kastelle, T.
Title Conceptualising "coupling" for sustainability implementation in the industrial sector: a review of the field and projection of future research opportunities
Journal name Journal of Cleaner Production   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-6526
Publication date 2013-08-15
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.040
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 53
Start page 69
End page 80
Total pages 12
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2105 Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
2300 Environmental Science
1408 Strategy and Management
2209 Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Abstract The industrial sector is an important player in the global sustainable development agenda. Over the last several decades, the sector has made considerable progress towards the adoption of cleaner production initiatives and the implementation of broader sustainability practices. However there is a growing call for integrated and holistic approaches to meet sustainability objectives over broad spatial and temporal scales. The implementation of these solutions requires not only engineering solutions but also advances in the human systems responsible for control. This demands consideration of the interactions and feedback relationships between coupled human and engineered systems. The natural science, engineering and management disciplines have each had a history of research on coupling and may thus provide insights for making progress. This paper makes two contributions. First, it provides a comprehensive and integrative literature review of research on coupling efforts across three diverse disciplines: natural sciences, engineering and management. Differences across these disciplines included: the scope and aims of coupling research and the ontological perspectives adopted. Similarities included: a lack of consistency in terminology and a growth in social network analysis and simulation modelling as research methods. The second contribution of this paper is the application of a framework to guide future research on coupling within the industrial sector. This paper is relevant to academics seeking an overview of methodological advances in coupling research across disciplines and an understanding of how they might be integrated to inform future research efforts. The paper may also be of interest to industrial practitioners who seek novel insights for managing sustainability issues characterised by both social and technical constraints.
Formatted abstract
Highlights
• The industrial sector is identified as important for sustainable development.
• Understanding “coupling” across human-engineered systems is essential for progress.
• We review trends in coupling research across three diverse disciplines.
• Similarities and differences in research aims and methodology are presented.
• We apply a framework to guide future research efforts.

The industrial sector is an important player in the global sustainable development agenda. Over the last several decades, the sector has made considerable progress towards the adoption of cleaner production initiatives and the implementation of broader sustainability practices. However there is a growing call for integrated and holistic approaches to meet sustainability objectives over broad spatial and temporal scales. The implementation of these solutions requires not only engineering solutions but also advances in the human systems responsible for control. This demands consideration of the interactions and feedback relationships between coupled human and engineered systems. The natural science, engineering and management disciplines have each had a history of research on coupling and may thus provide insights for making progress.

This paper makes two contributions. First, it provides a comprehensive and integrative literature review of research on coupling efforts across three diverse disciplines: natural sciences, engineering and management. Differences across these disciplines included: the scope and aims of coupling research and the ontological perspectives adopted. Similarities included: a lack of consistency in terminology and a growth in social network analysis and simulation modelling as research methods. The second contribution of this paper is the application of a framework to guide future research on coupling within the industrial sector.

This paper is relevant to academics seeking an overview of methodological advances in coupling research across disciplines and an understanding of how they might be integrated to inform future research efforts. The paper may also be of interest to industrial practitioners who seek novel insights for managing sustainability issues characterised by both social and technical constraints.
Keyword Coupled systems
Human-engineered systems
Sustainability
Industrial sector
Social-ecological systems
Product development
Management-systems
Contingency theory
Water management
Complex-systems
Climate-change
Networks
Science
Design
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry
Official 2014 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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