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Agency in Circular City Ecosystems—A Rationalities Perspective

Hirvensalo, Antero and Teerikangas, Satu and Reynolds, Noelia-Sarah and Kalliomäki, Helka and Mäntysalo, Raine and Mattila, Hanna and Granqvist, Kaisa (2021) 'Agency in Circular City Ecosystems—A Rationalities Perspective.' Sustainability, 13 (5). p. 2544. ISSN 2071-1050

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The concept of agency is increasingly used in the literature on sustainability transitions. In this paper, we add to that discussion by arguing that the concept of rationality opens new avenues to theorizing relational agency in transitions toward a circular economy. To this end, we compare rationality conceptions from management (e.g., collaboration and competition) with critical theory perspectives on rationality (e.g., instrumental and communicative rationality). This leads us to develop a typology matrix for describing plural rationalities underpinning relational agency. We illustrate this typology using excerpts from an in-depth case study of an ongoing city-coordinated ecosystem that develops a smart technology-enabled urban area based on the principles of circularity. The first contribution of this interdisciplinary paper is to offer a rational perspective on theorizing the antecedents of relational agency in circular economy transitions, where communicatively rational action enables agency and change. Secondly, our paper contributes to the literature on circular cities through conceptualizing circular transition as simultaneous collaboration and competition. Thirdly, our paper introduces a dyadic perspective on rationality to the literature on coopetition and provides an operating space from which professionals can navigate, depending on the type of coopetitive situation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: coopetition; collaboration; competition; rationality; agency; relational agency; smart circular city development; circular economy; ecosystems
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2021 14:11
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:30

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