Employee skills for circular business model implementation: A taxonomy

Lucas Straub*, Kris Hartley, Ivan Dyakonov, Harsh Gupta, Detlef van Vuuren, Julian Kirchherr

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


A growing body of scholarship has examined circular business models as a pathway towards sustainability. However, employee skills to support such business models have been largely overlooked. Addressing this research gap, this article proposes a comprehensive skill taxonomy for start-ups embracing circular economy transition. As the first large-N effort to develop a comprehensive skill taxonomy for circular business model implementation, this study uses a clustering analysis of self-reported skill profiles for 2407 staff working in circular start-ups. The taxonomy outlines 40 skills across six categories: business innovation, operations, social dimensions, systems, digitization, and technical issues. Findings suggest that circular business model implementation requires a set of general, sustainable, and circular skills, but some of these skills have been neglected in scholarship. Promoting circular narratives as a framing device for skill development can help advance CE towards mainstream uptake, and this study's taxonomy offers a practical framework for using talent to accelerate CE transition.

TidsskriftJournal of Cleaner Production
StatusUdgivet - 15 jul. 2023


  • Capabilities
  • Circular business models
  • Circular economy
  • Skill taxonomy
  • Skills
  • Sustainability

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