New Perspectives on Institutional Change: The Case of Changing Energy Management Practices in Australia


UTS Business School
University of Technology, Sydney
Published May 2014
​Thesis Structure
Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: Introduction. This chapter introduces the thesis and describes the aim, research questions, approach, contributions of the research and provides an outline of the thesis.


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Chapter 2: Improving energy efficiency in organisations establishes the important contribution that energy efficiency improvement in organisations can make towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term and delivering a range of other environmental, social and economic benefits to organisations and society.


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Chapter 3: The importance of energy management reviews the existing academic literature on energy management practices and government energy efficiency policy. First, key terms are defined, including ‘energy management’, ‘energy management systems’ and ‘energy management practices’. Second, the review identifies that – while there has been empirical work examining the adoption of energy management practices in particular industries – there is a need for research that examines how effective energy management practices are developed, adopted and maintained by organisations. The primary research question: How and why do energy management practices change? – emerges from this review of the literature. Chapter 3 concludes by highlighting the need to examine the underpinning theoretical assumptions that have been applied within the energy efficiency literature.


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Chapter 4: Four perspectives on energy efficiency barriers reviews the extensive literature examining the energy efficiency gap in organisations in order to inform the formulation of an appropriate theoretical approach for this research. The review is structured according to four broad perspectives: a neoclassical economic perspectivea behavioural perspectivean organisational-level perspective, and an interorganisational perspective. The review highlights the need for research that extends the interorganisational perspective and incorporates multi-level research design.


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Chapter 5: A framework to examine changing energy management practices establishes the theoretical framework for the study. It is argued that institutional theory is particularly suited to examining change at the level of the organisational field. At the same time it can effectively accommodate multi-level analysis from the micro level (e.g. energy efficiency projects), meso level (e.g. organisations) and macro level (e.g. the organisational field). Contemporary developments in institutional theory (particularly those associated with institutional entrepreneurship and collective action models of institutional change) are reviewed and used in the development of the empirical model of institutional change.


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Chapter 6: Methodology describes the methodology applied in the empirical research. It justifies the relevance of developing a critical and revelatory case study of changing energy management practices in Australian organisations between the years 2006–2012. The chapter outlines the methodological assumptions, scope of the case study, sources of data and the analytic process that was followed.


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In Chapter 7: The genesis of institutional change, the background to the case study, including development of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 (Cth),[1] is presented. The institutionalised energy management practices that were applied by large energy consuming organisations as they first began to respond to their obligations under the EEO legislation are then described. Finally, changes in the stakeholder composition of the organisational field associated with energy management practices over the study period are examined.


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Chapter 8: The evolution of energy management practices presents the changes to energy management practices that occurred over the study period in four thematic areas emerging from the analysis:engaging staff in energy managementdeveloping energy information systemsidentifying potential projects, and integrating energy management into existing management systems. Within each of the thematic areas new practices are described. The analysis particularly focuses on the dynamic process of institutional change that influenced the development of these energy management practices.


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Chapter 9: The dynamics of institutional change discusses the implications of the research. First, the dynamics of changing energy management practices are summarised within and across each level of analysis. Second, the implications for institutional theory are discussed. Third (and finally), the implications of the research for policymakers and other stakeholders concerned with accelerating the adoption of effective energy management practices are presented. The chapter concludes by discussing the limitations of this research and makes recommendations for future research.


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Chapter 10: Conclusion, briefly summarises and concludes the thesis.


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Download the references here

Framework Development (Institutional Theory) and Methodology

Chapter 2:

Improving energy efficiency in


Energy Efficiency Literature Review

Case Study

Discussion and Conclusion

Chapter 1:


Chapter 3:

The importance of energy management

Chapter 4:

Four perspectives on energy efficiency barriers

Chapter 5: A framework to examine energy management practices

Chapter 6:


Chapter 7:

The genesis of institutional change

Chapter 8:

The evolution of energy management practices

Chapter 9: 

The dynamics of institutional change

Chapter 10:


Chapter 2:

Improving energy efficiency in




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