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Production &

Manufacturing Research

Stakeholder engagement models in digital-enabled Circular Manufacturing ecosystems

Submission Deadline: 31st October 2023

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Guest Editors

  • Claudio Sassanelli (Principal Guest Editor), Politecnico di Bari, Italy. Email:

  • Idiano D’Adamo, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • Paolo Rosa, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Mahtab Kouhizadeh, The University of Rhode Island, USA

About this issue

A circular economy is based on the principles of eliminating waste and pollution, regenerating natural resources, and maximizing the circularity of products and materials (MacArthur Foundation, 2019). Manufacturing companies approaching Circular Economy (CE) need decision-making support to take into account all the stakeholders involved in Circular Business Models (CBMs) and to ease their cooperation with both other industrial actors and final users (Santa-Maria, Vermeulen, and Baumgartner 2021). Indeed, even being protagonist of a small part of a product’s life cycle, manufacturers can affect both the user behaviour and the product’s end of life through product development and design (Bjørnbet et al. 2021). In particular, the design process needs to involve multiple stakeholders to build circular solutions’ value propositions embedding potential value that could catch a broader range of stakeholders instead of focusing only on either the customer or the provider perspectives (Brown and Bajada 2018). Several methods and approaches, inspired to concurrent engineering and Design for X, exist to support solution providers in addressing all these multiple perspectives under a circular lens, mostly inspired to the concurrent engineering and Design for X (Sassanelli et al. 2020). However, the extant literature calls for further studies to understand how to properly support companies to directly involve all the potential stakeholders in Circular Business Models. Even leveraging the exploitation of Industry 4.0 technologies to enable and support the active involvement of external users during all the phases of a circular lifecycle, the complexity of circular solutions is raised due to the fact that the involvement of more complex system of players can present additional challenges, either cultural and social or economic (Dallasega, Rauch, and Linder 2018). Therefore, there is the need to focus on human action and involvement and to explore the role of human action in CE implementation, both intra- and inter-organizationally (Appolloni et al. 2022).             

The aim of this special issue is to encourage original and latest contributions, and to review, apply and survey research dealing with models in digitally-enabled circular manufacturing ecosystems, focusing on state-of-the-art, exploring potential future approaches and technologies supporting innovation dynamics and organizations, and providing a good starting point for researchers entering these research areas and companies willing to practically involve external stakeholders in the lifecycle of their circular solutions. The special issue will explore new approaches and perspectives of digitally-enabled manufacturing aimed at fostering the creation and/or strengthening circular ecosystems. Its aim is to gather a collection of leading and high-quality papers on ideas, approaches, and technologies applied for fully exploiting the involvement and participation of external stakeholders along the lifecycle of circular solutions.

Topics include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • The connections among the social, environmental, and economic issues, as well as the effects on user behaviour of circular strategies.

  • Future Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to explore and assess the environmental impact of circular product design and CBMs including changes in consumption, return transport and not reusable items, and energy-efficiency improvements and degradation.

  • Various supply chain theories (e.g., institutional theory, stakeholder theory, value creation theory, dynamic capabilities theory, resource-based view theory) helping to formulate an effective strategy for CE adoption in business sectors. 

  • The role of I4.0 technologies to enhance stakeholder involvement.

  • Potential business models for industrial symbiosis in Additive Manufacturing (AM), mapping the industrial symbiosis development, the possible typologies of the networks and the impact that AM can have on the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support the actual involvement of external stakeholders in the circular value chain. 

  • Hybrid strategies and approaches (e.g. Design for X) to concurrently address both provider product design and user behaviour capability to ease circular design.

  • Guidelines and practices about which may be the impact of the CE transition on job turnover and on the creation of new job roles to foster the involvement of new employees in the development of circular solutions.

Key dates

  • Full paper submission deadline: 31 October 2023

  • Publication: As soon as accepted. The special issue will be presented as a special article collection.


Submission instructions can be found on the journal homepage, which is linked at the top of this call for papers. Make sure you indicate your submission is for a special issue upon submission to ensure your article is assigned to the correct editor.

N.b. Production & Manufacturing Research is a fully open access journal. An Article Publishing Charge (APC) will be applicable for papers that are accepted and published. A quote and details of funding, waivers and discounts can be obtained prior to submission (within the submission portal).


Appolloni, A., C. J. Chiappetta Jabbour, I. D’Adamo, M. Gastaldi, and D. Settembre-Blundo. 2022. Green recovery in the mature manufacturing industry: The role of the green-circular premium and sustainability certification in innovative efforts. Ecological Economics 193: 107311.

Bjørnbet, M. M., C. Skaar, A. M. Fet, and K. Ø. Schulte. 2021. Circular economy in manufacturing companies: A review of case study literature. Journal of Cleaner Production 294: 126268.

Brown, P. J., and C. Bajada. 2018. An economic model of circular supply network dynamics: Toward an understanding of performance measurement in the context of multiple stakeholders. Business Strategy and the Environment 27 (5): 643–55.

Dallasega, P., E. Rauch, and C. Linder. 2018. Industry 4.0 as an enabler of proximity for construction supply chains: A systematic literature review. Computers in Industry 99: 205–25.

Santa-Maria, T., W. J. V Vermeulen, and R. J. Baumgartner. 2021. Framing and assessing the emergent field of business model innovation for the circular economy: A combined literature review and multiple case study approach. Sustainable Production and Consumption 26: 872–91.

MacArthur Foundation (2019). What is the circular economy? Retrieved from, accessed April 15, 2022


Sassanelli, C., A. Urbinati, P. Rosa, D. Chiaroni, and S. Terzi. 2020. Addressing Circular Economy through Design for X approaches: A Systematic Literature Review. Computers in Industry 120 (103245): 1–23.

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