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Integrating knowledge management and orientation dynamics for organization transition from eco-innovation to circular economy

Shajara Ul-Durar (Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism, Sunderland Business School, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)
Usama Awan (Center for Research on Digitalization and Sustainability, Inland Norway University of Applied Science, Elverum, Norway)
Arup Varma (Department of Management, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Saim Memon (School of Engineering, Arden University Ltd, Birmingham, UK)
Anne-Laure Mention (College of Business, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 14 February 2023

Issue publication date: 19 October 2023




This study focuses on establishing relations with some important but underestimated elements of knowledge dynamics and firm orientations to characterize organizational circular economy activities through eco-innovation (EIN). The advent of the circular economy (CE) in this post-pandemic era has brought unpredictable sustainable challenges for the manufacturing industries. This research paper aims to bring more clarity to the extant literature on the relationship between environmental innovation (EI) and CE.


In this study, a systematic literature review methodology was used to research the determinants of EI in the knowledge environment that drives the implementation of a CE.


This paper proposes a framework that articulates organizational learning and orientation dynamics and offers a new set of internal knowledge resources for a corporate CE. It is found that change toward CE requires connection with EI. However, successful CE growth largely depends on leveraging knowledge resources and orientation dynamics (stakeholder orientation, sustainability orientation, organization learning orientation and entrepreneurial orientation). CE techniques are still in their early phases of adoption and their implementation is still in its development. Circular knowledge economy (CKE) has the potential to be a useful alternative to achieving thriving CE to achieve sustainability in local and global businesses operations.

Practical implications

This study helps companies to understand the organizational learning and different orientation dynamics for achieving CE principles. The research findings imply that EI is critical in establishing a sustainable transition toward CE through organizational learning and orientation dynamics and has garnered significant attention from academics, public policymakers and practitioners. The proposed framework can guide managers to develop sustainable policies related to the CE. This research recognizes that firm-level CKE is important in shaping how knowledge resources relate to CE within transition management literature.


This paper abridges the knowledge gap in identifying key drivers and presents the current eminence, challenges and prognostications of sustainable EI parameters in the changing climate of CE. This study builds a framework that combines insights from different viewpoints and disciplines and extends one’s understanding of the relationship between EI and CE. From a theoretical perspective, this study explains the knowledge management complexity links between EI and CE. It builds a theoretical bridge between EI and CE to illustrate how firms transition toward CE following the recommendations. Thus, researchers should continue to support their research with appropriate theories that have the potential to explain EI and CE relationship phenomena, with a particular emphasis on some promising but underutilized theories such as organizational learning, dynamic capabilities and stakeholder theories.



Conflict of Interest: All the authors hereby state that there is no conflict of interest with the content of this article, both in terms of academic and professional capacity. It is to affirm that the work is not submitted anywhere else other than this journal.

Ethical Approval: The entire research process is in line with our institutional research ethics policy. We declare that all ethical standards are met and complied with in true letter and spirit.

Informed Consent: All participants in this study volunteered themselves during the entire research process, and their consent was taken at inception.

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


Ul-Durar, S., Awan, U., Varma, A., Memon, S. and Mention, A.-L. (2023), "Integrating knowledge management and orientation dynamics for organization transition from eco-innovation to circular economy", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 27 No. 8, pp. 2217-2248.



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