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A qualitative examination of how accountability manifests itself in a circular economy

Amoako Kwarteng (Business School, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra, Ghana)
Cletus Agyenim-Boateng (Department of Accounting, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Samuel Nana Yaw Simpson (Department of Accounting, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 15 August 2022

Issue publication date: 6 January 2023

989

Abstract

Purpose

Accountability within the framework of circular economy (CE) is unknown even though the concept of CE is increasingly gaining momentum among governments, policymakers and academics. The purpose of this study is to investigate how accountability expresses itself in the CE.

Design/methodology/approach

This study draws on the institutional logics theory and adopted an exploratory qualitative study aimed at eliciting stakeholders’ perspectives on how accountability manifests in the context of CE. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews of cross section of Ghanaians. Respondents were recruited using the purposeful sampling method, and data saturation was reached with 35 respondents. Concurrent data collection and analysis were carried out, and emerging themes were investigated as the research progressed.

Findings

The results indicate that accountability manifestations take on a variety of forms and shapes through both formal and informal processes within the circularity space. The specific areas of accountability manifestations are through the social system embedded in the society, through the organization’s responsibility and transparency, through regular reporting to stakeholders using appropriate metrics, through agency and answerability to relevant stakeholders and through governance systems embedded within social interaction. Additionally, this study discovered that accountability manifestations would contribute to the firm’s sustainability by enhancing competitive advantage through stakeholder engagement, improving risk management and promoting creativity and innovation.

Originality/value

Given an apparent gap in the literature on circularity and accountability, as well as a call for further studies on the reflections of accountability within the CE, this study provides empirical evidence to fill these gaps.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Carnegie Corporation of New York for partly funding this project through the UG-BANGA-3 Thesis Completion Grant.

Citation

Kwarteng, A., Agyenim-Boateng, C. and Simpson, S.N.Y. (2023), "A qualitative examination of how accountability manifests itself in a circular economy", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 111-134. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGR-12-2021-0107

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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