Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-10092020-152059

Type of thesis
Dynamic Capabilities and Behavioral Practices of Organizations for Circular Economy Implementation
Scientific disciplinary sector
relatore Prof. IRALDO, FABIO
  • Circular Economy
  • Dynamic Capabilities
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Organizational Performance
Exam session start date
Humans have been consuming 70% more natural resources each year than the regenerative capacity of the Earth and thus causing several environmental problems. If this consumption pace continues in a linear economy approach (take-make-dispose), humans would need 200% more natural resources by 2050 due to the increase in global ecological footprint. In this scenario, many organizations (businesses) would not be able to survive. For instance, organizations from the manufacturing sector whose production heavily depends on scarce materials would have to temporarily shut down their production due to a lack of resources or supply disruptions. These organizations would not be able to compete with other organizations that are less dependent on resources, and they would be at high risk of losing their brand value and customer loyalty due to their bad ecological footprint. <br><br>Scholars and practitioners are continuously awakening organizations that the concept of a circular economy (CE) is not just an alternative economic model rather a necessity to sustain and improve human life. Organizations have been now slowly realizing that CE is indeed vital for the viability and sustainability of their business. The EU and several national governments have already introduced various initiatives to support organizations in the transition towards CE. Yet many organizations are not easily able to translate the concept of CE into their corporate strategies, business models, and operations. Many organizations are either facing barriers or still unclear how they may transition to CE. The existing literature on CE from the perspective of management studies is still in its infancy. Whereas, the tools and methodologies mentioned in the grey literature are too generic and insufficient for an organization to adopt CE. To the best of our knowledge, there is still no or very little academic discussion on how organizations can implement CE. Furthermore, there is limited empirical support of whether CE is beneficial for organizations from a business perspective.<br><br>Using the theory of dynamic capabilities and the theory of planned behavior, this doctoral thesis attempts to explore: <br><br>• How organizations can identify and pursue CE opportunities?<br>• Which are the key capabilities and organizational routines for CE?<br>• Do dynamic capabilities and CE implementation improve the overall performance of organizations? And do the circular dynamic environment influence CE implementation?<br>• What factors cause the intention-behavior gap? And how organizations can attain a CE for plastics?<br><br>This doctoral thesis concludes that organizations can accomplish CE through their dynamic capabilities (sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring). Organizations may identify CE opportunities through four microfoundations of sensing, namely (1) market monitoring and technology scanning, (2) idea generation, (3) knowledge creation, and (4) experiential learning. Once a CE opportunity is sensed, organizations may address that opportunity through three microfoundations of seizing, namely (1) strategic planning, (2) business model and governance, and (3) collaboration, and four microfoundations of reconfiguring, namely (1) organizational restructuring, (2) technological upgradation, (3) knowledge integration, and (4) best practices adaptation.<br><br>This doctoral thesis identifies that key capabilities and routines that an organization should develop and apply for CE objectives include, but not limited to, undertaking R&amp;D to try out new ideas, conducting LCA to assess potential environmental impacts of products, planning investments and human resources, finding strategic partners, changing organizational structure, introducing new technology, and adopting new business practices.<br><br>This doctoral thesis concludes that dynamic capabilities and their underlying organizational activities significantly facilitate CE implementation, which consequently improves the overall performance of organizations. That is, CE implementation does not only improve environmental and financial performance but also competitiveness and corporate reputation. Furthermore, this doctoral thesis cautiously concludes that a circular dynamic environment may positively influence the transition towards CE.<br><br>This doctoral thesis concludes that the majority of organizations are still far away from contributing to CE for plastics. There are various factors (barriers) that cause the gap between intentions and behaviors of organizations towards CE for plastics. These barriers include lack of easy access, lack of space and time, lack of skilled personnel, insufficient funds, and so on. Finally, this doctoral thesis suggests some measures to overcome the intention-behavior gap and to attain a CE for plastics.