Agency in circular city ecosystems—A rationalities perspective

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Sustainability (Switzerland), Volume 13, issue 5
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.
Funding Information: The authors appreciate the following three research projects and funders: (1) the From Innovation to Business Ecosystems (CICAT2025) research consortium (0245896-2018), funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland; (2) the Change Resilient Strategic City Development?A Dialogue between Competitive and Communicative Orientations? research project (2018?2019), funded by the Turku City Urban Research Program; and (3) the Beyond MALPE Coordination: Integrative Envisioning (BEMINE) research consortium (303538), funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Agency, Circular economy, Collaboration, Competition, Coopetition, Ecosystems, Rationality, Relational agency, Smart circular city development
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Hirvensalo, A, Teerikangas, S, Reynolds, N S, Kalliomäki, H, Mäntysalo, R, Mattila, H & Granqvist, K 2021, ' Agency in circular city ecosystems—A rationalities perspective ', Sustainability (Switzerland), vol. 13, no. 5, 2544, pp. 1-16 .