Investing in the loop: managing linear- and circular business models simultaneously. An exploratory research for providing insights in managing a CBM and linear BM within a focal firm, as seen from an ambidexterity perspective.

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Due to multiple environmental and social crises that derive from a linear produce-consume economy, a transition towards a more sustainable economy has to be made. As part of this transition, the emergence of newly found circular business models (CBMs) initiates the circular economy. CBMs are systems of activities close their material resource loops within their own organization or in cooperation with others, and therefore work according circular business modes, or value cycles. But for a transition towards a leading circular economy to kick-start, established organizations have to start embracing CBMs. The most risk-averse way of doing this is exploring a CBM while exploiting a trusted linear BM. A dual BM situation arises, where both differentiate from each other on essential traits and formulated strategic goals. Knowing their differences, how can both receive balanced, appropriate management efforts? An ambidexterity perspective is chosen to approach the management of exploring a CBM while exploiting a linear BM. In order to create an explorative view in this matter, the following research question is created: How can organizations manage the balancing efforts for exploring a Circular BM while exploiting a linear BM within the same organization? The content-focused cruxes between linear BMs and CBMs show this research will be about how organizations try to achieve balanced management in the simultaneous achievement of very different strategic goals within very different BMs. Ambidexterity management literature shows to be applicable in a dual BM context, as the management of conflicting strategic goals pop up in the management of dual BMs. After reviewing literature on BMs and ambidexterity management in dual BM situations, an interview guide is developed accordingly. After retrieving qualitative data, insights on how 10 different organizations currently deal with managing a CBM next to a linear BM in the same organization are retrieved from the field. Results show that the external organizational context (in the form of a linear macro-economic perspective in society) appears to be decisive for the way that balancing efforts for both BM types are managed.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen