Maturity Model as a Driver for Circular Economy Transformation

Jonas Nygaard Uhrenholt, Jesper Hemdrup Kristensen, Maria Camila Rincón, Sofie Adamsen, Steffen Foldager Jensen, Brian Vejrum Waehrens

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The movement of manufacturing organisations towards a circular economy sets the scene for extensive industrial change. This change is not simply a continuation of current business; instead, it brings up multiple questions concerning ways of thinking, modes of operation, and the very foundation of a business. Manufacturing organisations are experiencing uncertainty regarding how to address this transformation due to its multi-faceted nature. Maturity models are seen by some as a tool for assessing and guiding manufacturing organisations when it comes to complex and multi-faceted agendas, such as that of the circular economy (CE). Maturity models provide scaffolding in the form of presentation of a desired evolution path from which manufacturing organisations can define reasonable and desirable plans for engagement with the circular economy. This study adopts the cumulative capability perspective in developing a CE maturity reference model that explicates the circular transformation by noting six discrete maturity levels across six organisational dimensions: value creation, governance, people and skills, supply chain and partnership, operations and technology, and product and material. The progression of circular maturity is explained by the principles of expertise and the systems perspective. The explication of CE transformation across dimensions and levels provides a boundary object for organisations, i.e., a scaffolding for moving from its current zone of development to its proximal zone of development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7483
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • circular economy sustainability
  • dynamic capabilities
  • maturity model
  • systems perspective
  • transition


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