The role of cognitive frames towards circular economy practices in SMEs

  • Filippo Corsini
  • Natalia Maria Gusmerotti
  • Francesco Testa
  • Alessandra Borghini
Keywords: cognitive frames; circular economy; SME; pro-environmental practices; hospitality sector


Frame of the research: The paper explores how organizations are able to manage potential competing logics in the HORECA and Hospitality sectors. In such sectors, mainly characterized by SMEs and where the effect of brand and corporate reputation is not comparable with some manufacturing sectors operating in the B2B market, finding an equilibrium between the economic and environmental need is crucial in order to truly embrace environmental sustainability.

Purpose of the paper: The development of an integrative cognitive framework in management where environmental and economic views are strictly enwound, is crucial for supporting the transition towards a more circular economy. The paper explores the drivers for developing such integrative view for the managers of SMEs operating in the hospitality sectors.

Methodology: The research is grounded on original data collected by a survey of 252 Italian SMEs operating in the hospitality sector. Adopting a structural equation model, we tested the drivers that can contribute to create respectively an environmental and economic logic in managers, whether the co-presence of these logics is able to generate an integrative view and, as a consequence, the influence of such view on the adoption of pro-environmental practices.

Findings: The results confirm the environmental concern being a driver of environmental logic, the importance of the environmental logic and the economic one as determinants of the integrative view and the importance of such view in adopting pro-environmental practices.

Research limits: The study is focused on a specific geographical context. The number of drivers of environmental internalization could be expanded.

Practical implications: The study contributes to the steam of research on sustainability among SMEs by stressing how intangible factors are crucial for reaching environmental embeddedness.

Originality of the paper: Understanding how organizations are able to manage potential competing logics in an integrative cognitive framework is still unexplored, mainly in the Hospitality sectors. In such sectors finding an equilibrium between the economic and the environmental need is crucial for really embracing environmental sustainability.


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