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Towards the Analysis of Industrial Symbiosis Enablers in Small and Medium Enterprises: A Hesitant Fuzzy Approach

Seyyed Mohammadreza Ayazi (University of Tehran, Iran)
Ali Zamani Babgohari (Tehran University)
Mohammadreza Taghizadeh-Yazdi (University of Tehran, Iran)


Many European businesses are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), contributing significantly to the well-being of local economies and regions. Even so, SMEs face many challenges in fostering innovation and improving performance. Furthermore, the raw material consumption is increasing globally, necessitating the development of strategies that will reduce the number of raw materials extracted and imported while improving the sustainability of small and medium-sized businesses. Consequently, promoting circular economy (CE) strategies, such as industrial symbiosis (IS) partnerships, whereby waste products from other industries serve as a source of raw materials for companies, is critical. Identifying and analysing enablers or drivers that support IS collaborations among SMEs is necessary to achieve this goal. In this regard, the purpose of this study will explore the enablers of IS among SMEs considering sustainability dimensions (environmental, social and economic). As facing a decision-making (DM) problem, the multiple attribute decision-making (MADM) approach was applied in a hesitant fuzzy (HF) environment in this research to answer the research questions. In this regard, in phase 1, IS enablers were identified and extracted using a literature review and experts’ opinions. In phase 2, the hesitant fuzzy Delphi (HFD) method was implemented to screen and finalise the enablers identified. In phase 3, casual relations among final enablers were determined using the hesitant fuzzy ANP (HF-ANP) method. Finally, in phase 4, the relative importance of enablers was calculated using the hesitant fuzzy best–worst method (HF-BWM). Consequently, this study provided potential strategies for IS that can be implemented quickly and used by local authorities to support SMEs in achieving circular waste management.



Ayazi, S.M., Babgohari, A.Z. and Taghizadeh-Yazdi, M. (2023), "Towards the Analysis of Industrial Symbiosis Enablers in Small and Medium Enterprises: A Hesitant Fuzzy Approach", Jafari-Sadeghi, V. and Amoozad Mahdiraji, H. (Ed.) Decision-Making in International Entrepreneurship: Unveiling Cognitive Implications Towards Entrepreneurial Internationalisation (Entrepreneurial Behaviour Series), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 243-265.



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