• Demystifying Corporate Inertia Towards Transition to Circular Economy: A Management Frame of Reference

      Yamoah, F.A.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Mahroof, Kamran; González Peña, I. (2022-02)
      We examine corporate inertia towards circularity transition using organisational case studies, observations, and qualitative interviews with business executives. The study explores how the values and beliefs of business leaders and managers promote or inhibit internal and external stakeholder engagement to enable transition to circular business models. We focus on four large UK food companies, conducting interviews with 11 senior managers. Rather than a lack of awareness of the circular economy (CE), the results demonstrate that business leaders are not persuaded by the short-to medium-term business case for a CE. There is misalignment between values and beliefs of business executives and the circularity values and goals of their organisations. The misaligned values and beliefs inhibit relevant stakeholder engagement for transitions to a CE with responsibility shifted to civil society and public institutions. Management commitment to circularity transitions are at best a sophisticated form of circularity greenwashing. The study further suggests a general lack of collective disposition to foster collaborations with sectoral and supply chain partners to engender circularity transitions due to the absence of any standard systems for CE performance indicators. Circularity education and training play a positive mediatory role in changing negative assumptions, including the promotion of managers' engagement with other relevant stakeholders to build synergies and strategies for CE systems. The findings contribute to understanding the dynamics of corporate inertia regarding transitions to CE and highlight the relevance of aligning the personal values and beliefs of top management with organisational, sectoral, and supply chain partners’ values and goals.