Integrating Behavioral insights into Organizational Change for Circular Economy


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Due to its innovative and game-changing approach to resource management and sustainability, the circular economy has gained significant attention from practitioners and academicians as a promising solution to the environmental challenges of our time (Tseng et al., 2024). The circular economy represents a significant divergence from the conventional linear model of production and consumption, in which resources are harvested, converted into goods, and then discarded as waste (i.e. take-make-waste) (Ren et al., 2023). In contrast, circular economy seeks to create a closed-loop system where products, materials, and resources are reused, remanufactured, or recycled, minimizing waste generation and environmental impact (Islam et al., 2021). 
In this context, organizations, being the core of the circular economy, are required to play a critical role in fostering circular practices. This transition requires a new business model that is inherently sustainable involves rethinking products and services from their inception to ensure that they can be fully reclaimed, reused, or recycled. This transformation, essential for a true shift towards circularity, demands an understanding of organizational behavior and change management. 
Although the circular economy framework is based on sustainability principles, technological advancements, and systemic change, its effective implementation depends on the actions, attitudes, and decisions made by people, companies, and communities (Mykkänen & Repo, 2021). 
Our inquiry in this special issue is centered on the complex relationship that exists between the adoption of circular economy practices and human behavior as individuals' behavior is a complex, dynamic phenomenon that is shaped by a complex interplay of cognitive, social, and emotional factors (McKenzie-Mohr, 2011). It affects our consumption habits, how we dispose of products, how we interact with organizations, and how we participate in community projects (Khan et al., 2020). Therefore, behavioral insights illuminate the path toward a circular future by offering a thorough understanding of the motivations, rewards, and challenges that underpin these actions. The significance of understanding behavior extends well beyond mere academic interest; it serves as a crucial element in our pursuit of sustainable and cyclical progress. Comprehending behavior holds significant importance for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it elucidates the fundamental elements that influence decision-making in the circular economy, a context where prioritizing sustainable choices throughout all stages is of utmost importance. Furthermore, it facilitates the development of policies, interventions, and practices that align with the values and goals of individuals and organizations, thus fostering increased adherence and approval. Equally important, it recognizes the influence of behavior on the formation of cultural and social norms, leading to the establishment of cyclical patterns as the prevailing societal norm. Lastly, it promotes the development of a sustainable mindset, enabling stakeholders to willingly accept their responsibilities in the circular economy as a collective mission rather than a forced goal. In this context, this special issue focuses on exploring the complex aspects of behavior within the context of the circular economy. Through a comprehensive examination of the mechanisms and rationales behind behavioral reactions to circularity, our objective is to shed light on the trajectory toward a society in which circularity transcends being a purely abstract notion and becomes an inherent and pervasive mode of existence. The utilization of behavioral insights can drive transformative change and establish a future in which sustainability and circularity are fundamental principles that shape our shared fate. This potential can be harnessed by researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and communities alike. 
Our objective is to extend the scope of understanding the crucial interaction of human behavior and circular economy practices through conducting empirical studies and exploring theoretical frameworks. In doing so, we aim to study the capabilities of behavioral insights to understand organizational change strategies to foster circular economy practices that will ultimately cultivate a future conducive to the well-being of our planet.

List of Topic Areas

  • The roles of the various organizational factors in the successful implementation of circular business models and sustainability initiatives.
  • Investigating the factors influencing consumer choices in circular markets.
  • Analyzing cognitive biases that may hinder the adoption of circular practices and exploring strategies to overcome them. 
  • Examining effective communication strategies and behavioral nudges to encourage individuals (consumers and employees) to participate in circular consumption and recycling. 
  • Exploring the psychological factors that drive individuals to reduce waste generation, including the role of motivation, values, and social norms. 
  • Investigating how behavioral factors influence employee engagement in circular business models, resource-sharing initiatives, and sustainability efforts within organizations. 
  • Analyzing the role of social norms and cultural factors in shaping circular behaviors within communities and neighborhoods. 
  • Examining the design and impact of educational programs and interventions aimed at fostering a circular mindset and promoting sustainable behaviors

Submissions Information

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Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 31/05/2024 
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 28/02/2025