Challenges to the Innovation of Circular Business Models: A Four Case Study of South African Companies

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Economics and Management, Da Vinci Institute of Management, South Africa.


The refurbishing and recycling of end-of-life products are the foundation of circular business models (CBM), which have the potential to drastically cut costs and have a large positive impact on the environment. CBMs, which reflect the emergence of a circular economy, have proven slow to catch on within organizations. The purpose of this research is to define the interactions that impede the adoption of CBM in order to enhance glitch prevention and a quicker clearance. In four case studies of the circular business model innovation (CBMI) process in South African enterprises, the study covers a cross-case comparison of start-ups and incumbents with varying sizes and client fragmentation. Further data suggests that CBMI contacts are widespread across all socio-technical levels, despite major organizational obstacles. The type of connections and the number of contacts vary significantly amongst the case studies, though. The findings also indicate that other elements, such as organizational size, industry, and consumer segment, influence the nature of relationships made. More interactions that were not previously noted in earlier investigations are revealed in the current study.