What Motivates Entrepreneurs into Circular Economy Action? Evidence from Japan and Finland

Savu Rovanto*, Max Finne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated entrepreneurs’ motivations to implement circular economy (CE) practices and the ways in which their approaches to CE practices differed by their sociocultural context. The research aimed to contrast the contemporary instrumental perspective on CE through an ecologically dominant logic. The empirical analysis focused on Finland and Japan, two countries with distinct sociocultural contexts but similar regulatory environments regarding the CE. The study analysed entrepreneurs’ motivations towards the CE through self-determination theory that makes a distinction between different levels of internalization in motivations. The Finnish entrepreneurs were characterised by more frequent intertwined intrinsic/transcendent motivations and a vocal approach to CE. The Japanese entrepreneurs’ motivations were more varied; some were intrinsically interested in the CE, while some were even unaware of the CE concept despite operating CE businesses. The Japanese entrepreneurs resorted to masking their CE businesses to better relate with the surrounding linear system. The study shows how the individualistic Finnish culture fostered progress on the CE, while the collectivistic Japanese culture emphasised the need for relatedness and caused stagnation in the CE in its society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-91
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Early online date4 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Circular economy
  • Motivation
  • Self-determination theory
  • Sociocultural context


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