Tension management in sustainable entrepreneurship : business model implications for circular economy start-ups

  • Lasse Nis Hansen (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Facing a global environmental- and social crisis sustainability has become one of the most important topics within society. Businesses take a vital position towards overcoming this crisis by providing solutions for sustainability challenges. Start-ups following a sustainable business model aim for a holistic and unified approach towards the achievement of economic, social, and environmental goals. Due to an organization limited number of resources this triune approach can lead to tensions in the business model. This research investigates which tensions circular economy start-ups face in their business model and showcases the measurements to overcome and avoid those. This dissertation is an exploratory study which follows a qualitative research approach through the conduction of semi-structured interviews with six circular economy start-ups and one circular economy industry expert. The results display, that circular economy start-ups face most of their business model tensions within the value creation- and delivery system part of the business model. Those tensions are mainly caused by the increased cost of sustainable business operations and a loose of the organizations control due to extensive internal processes. To overcome those tensions the organizations, take an active and transparent role in society in the promotion of sustainability and further develop their infrastructure. It adds to the existing literature on tensions faced within hybrid organizations and measurements to overcome those.
Date of Award28 Apr 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorJosé Vasconcelos e Sousa (Supervisor)


  • Sustainable entrepreneurship
  • Circular economy
  • Business model Canvas
  • Hybrid organization
  • Tension management


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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