DOI: 10.1177/02662426231218357 ISSN: 0266-2426

Bringing the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship to circular economies: Knowledge and values in entrepreneurial ecosystems

David B Audretsch, Antje Fiedler
  • Business and International Management

Transitioning from a linear economy to a circular economy (CE) supports the realisation of societal values towards more sustainable development. This article identifies mechanisms by which circularity can be embedded in entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) through the flow of relevant knowledge and values. It presents a dynamic model that illustrates how reverse knowledge spillovers from entrepreneurs can complement traditional technological knowledge spillovers from incumbents, ultimately advocating for CE values and validating circular knowledge. The validated circular knowledge, in turn, alters the knowledge filter of incumbents, leading to shifts in their research and development (R&D) focus and their willingness to embrace new knowledge. This symbiotic relationship of knowledge spillovers between circular start-ups and incumbents can significantly enhance the motivation of participants in EEs to adopt CE values and leverage circular knowledge. Overall, the article shows how knowledge spillovers can facilitate a wider adoption of circular knowledge and CE values within EEs.

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