circular economy
management sciences
umbrella concept


Recent years have seen an increase in interest in the circular economy (CE) in science and practice. In both cases, the benchmark for an activity is the degree of environmental degradation. CE is a concept based on sustainable development, taking into account the balance of three areas: environmental, economic, and social. While the first two are relatively well described and measurable by quantitative indicators, the third is still not satisfactorily represented in science and practice. To embed CE in scientific discourse, it seems appropriate to use the umbrella concept, which implies the integration of different fields and disciplines into new research areas. This article focuses on the social aspect, emphasizing the role of management sciences, which, with the selection of appropriate methods, can be the key to studying and describing this area. The purpose of this article is to try to select a research paradigm for the social aspect of CE, so that the concept fits more fully into the assumptions of sustainable development.


Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015) [Access: 10.02.2023]. Access on the internet:

Anderson, J.J. (1995). The Single European Market and Beyond: A Study of the Wider Implications of the Single European Act. “World Politics”, Vol. 47, No. 3, April.

Alvesson, M., Willmott, H.C. (1992). Critical Management Studie., London: Newbury Park.

Bachmann-Medick, D. (2012). Cultural Turns. Nowe kierunki w naukach o kulturze. Warszawa: Oficyna Naukowa.

Berger, P.L., Luckmann, T. (1966). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Garden City: Anchor Books.

Blomsma, F., Brennan, G. (2017). The emergence of circular economy: A new framing around prolonging resource productivity. “Journal of Industrial Ecology”, 21(3).

Bourdieu, P. (2000). Pascalian meditations. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Burrell, G., Morgan, G. (1979). Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis. London: Heinemann.

Butler, N., Spoelstra, S. (2012). Your excellency. “Organization”, 19.

Czakon, W. (2009). Mity o badaniach jakościowych w naukach o zarządzaniu. „Przegląd Organizacji”, 9.

Ćwiklicki, M. (2010). Przesłanki stosowania teorii ugruntowanej w naukach o zarządzaniu. „Acta Universitatis Lodziensis Folia Oeconomica”, 234.

Duberley, J., Johnson, P. (2003). Reflexivity in Management Research. “Journal of Management Studies”, 40/5.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2015). Towards a Circular Economy: Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition [Access: 17.01.2023]. Access on the internet:

European Commission (2019). European Green Deal [Access: 17.01.2023]. Access on the internet:

European Parliament and Council of the European Union (2021). Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’) [Access: 11.02.2023]. Access on the internet:

Ghisellini, P., Cialani, C., Ulgiati, S. (2016). A review on circular economy: The expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems. “Journal of Cleaner Production”, 114.

Glinka, B., Czakon, W. (2021). Podstawy badań jakościowych. Warszawa: Polskie Towarzystwo Ekonomiczne.

Goldman, G.A. (2016). Multiparadigmatic, cooperative opportunities for the study of business management. “Management Dynamics”, 25(3).

Habermas, J. (1990). Discourse Ethics: Notes on a Program of Philosophical Justification [In:] Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Cambridge, MIT Press.

—— (1999). Teoria działania komunikacyjnego. T. 1: Racjonalność działania a racjonalność społeczna. Warszawa.

Hausner, J. (2013). Rozwój społeczno-gospodarczy [In:] Hausner, J., Karwińska, A., Purchla, J., Kultura a rozwój. Warszawa: Narodowe Centrum Kultury.

Hirsch, P.M., Levin, D.Z. (1999). Umbrella advocates versus validity police: A life-cycle model. “Organization Science”, 10(2).

Hobson, K., Lynch, N. (2016). Diversifying and De-Growing the Circular Economy: Radical Social Transformation in a Resource-Scarce World. “Futures”, 82.

Johnson, P., Buehring, A., Cassell, C., Symon, G. (2006). Evaluating Qualitative Management Research: Towards a Contingent Criteriology. “International Journal of Management Reviews”, Vol. 8, No. 3.

Kama, K. (2015). Circling the economy: Resource-making and marketization in EU electronic waste policy. “Area”, 47(1).

Kirchherr, J., Reike, D., Hekkert, M. (2017). Conceptualizing the circular economy: An analysis of 114 definitions. “Resources, Conservation and Recycling”, Vol. 127, December.

Klein, R. J.T., Nicholls, R.J., Thomalla, F. (2003). Resilience to natural hazards: How useful is this concept? “Environmental Hazards”.

Korhonen, J., Honkasalo, A., Seppälä, J. (2018). Circular economy: The concept and its limitations. “Ecological Economics”, 143.

Kostera, M. (1996). Postmodernizm w zarządzaniu. Warszawa: PWE.

Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.

—— (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Second Edition. University of Chicago Press.

Laurent, E. (2016). The European Green Deal: Bring back the new. “OFCE Policy Briefs”, Vol. 63, 28 January.

Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. (1972). The Limits to Growth; a Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: Universe Books.

Melosi, M.V. (2005). Garbage in the cities: Refuse, reform and the environment. University of Pittsburgh Press.

Meyer, R.E., Boxenbaum, E. (2010). Exploring European-ness in organization research. “Organization Studies”, 31.

Murray, A., Skene, K., Haynes, K. (2017). The Circular economy: An interdisciplinary exploration of the concept and application in a global context. “Journal of Business” Ethics, 140(3).

Parker, S., Parker, M. (2017). Antagonism, accommodation and agonism in Critical Management Studies: Alternative organizations as allies. “Human Relations”, 70(11).

Perlie, E., Lynn Jr., L.W., Politt, C. (2005). Handbook of Public Managementr. Oxford University Press.

Ritzer, G. (1975). Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Robinson, S., Ernst, J., Larsen, K., Thomassen, O.J. (2021). Pierre Bourdieu in Studies of Organization and Management. Societal Change and Transforming Fields. Routledge.

Roser, M. 2014. Human Development Index [Access: 5.02.2023]. Access on the internet:

Sauve, S., Bernard, S., Sloan, P. (2016). Environmental sciences, sustainable development and circular economy: Alternative concepts for trans-disciplinary research. “Environmental Development”, 17.

Scherer, A.G., Palazzo, G. (2007). Towards a Political Conception of Corporate Responsibility. Business and Society Seen from a Habermasian Perspective. “Academy of Management Review”, 32.

Sieweke, J. (2014). Pierre Bourdieu in management and organization studies – a citation context analysis and discussion of contributions. “Scandinavian Journal of Management”, 30.

Slaper, T.F., Hall, T.J. (2011). The triple bottom line: What is it and how does it work. “Indiana Business Review”, 86(1).

Stahel, W.R. (2006). The Performance Economy. London: Palmgrave MacMillan.

Sułkowski, Ł. (2004), Neopozytywistyczna mitologia w nauce o zarządzaniu. „Organizacja i Kierowanie”, 1(115).

Sułkowski, Ł., Gansiniec-Lenart, R. (2021). Epistemologia, metodologia i metody badań w naukach o zarządzaniu i jakości. Łódź: Społeczna Akademia Nauk.

Taylor, B.W. (2013). Introduction to Management Science. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment & Development) (1992). Agenda 21: The United Nations programme of action from Rio. New York: United Nations Division for Sustainable Development. [Access: 31.01.2023]. Access on the internet:

Unerman, J., Bennett, M. (2004). Increased Stakeholder Dialogue and the internet: Towards Greater Corporate Accountability or Reinforcing Capitalist Hegemony? “Accounting, Organizations and Society”, 29.

Webster, K. (2013). What might we say about a circular economy? Some temptations to avoid if possible. “World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research”, 69(7–8).