Circular economy and digital capabilities of SMEs for providing value to customers: Combined resource-based view and ambidexterity perspective

Chaudhuri, A., Subramanian, N., Dora, M. (2022) Journal of Business Research

Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are involved in recycling plastic waste to produce innovative products. These SMEs have adopted digital technologies, such as 3D printing and blockchain, to gain competitive advantage from their circular economy (CE)-based business models. However, the specific capabilities needed to create value for customers and to generate a competitive advantage for such SMEs are not known. In this study, we conducted in-depth interviews with four SMEs engaged in the CE to identify the specific resources and capabilities needed to provide value to customers. Our findings reveal that SMEs focusing on circular economy initiatives demonstrate exploitation and adaptive capabilities in utilising their CE resources followed by exploration and adaptive capabilities while implementing digital technologies. Our study extends the resource-based view by combining it with ambidexterity to explain the role of specific circular and digital resources and capabilities that SMEs need to provide value to their customers.

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