Organizing the emergence of circular technologies : Inter-firm collaboration, imbrication and routines in the textile industry

Mulder, Brigitte; Poldner, Kim; Vellema, Sietze


The chapter unpacks how organizing inter-firm collaboration generates necessary conditions for the emergence and subsequent commercial use of the circular technology. It shifts attention from the artefacts associated with the emergence of circular technologies to the processual nature of the technical change. By connecting the innovation funnel perspective with the imbrication model, the chapter discloses the role of material agency in inter-firm collaboration and demonstrates that imbrication of human and material agencies is of a different nature in the various phases in which circular technologies emerge. It then explores how inter-firm collaboration reconfigures established routines with the emerging circular technologies. Mature and established industries, like the textile industry, are subject to lock-ins. Lock-in refers to path dependencies and exclusion of alternative or emerging solutions, partly due to the ways firms interact in the marketplace and/or mobilize resources and the technologies in manufacturing or marketing practices.