Inderscience Publishers

Industrial recycling networks: results of rational decision making or "organised anarchies"?

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Industrial recycling networks can be very effective in minimising impacts on the environment through material cycles and energy cascades within the industrial system. However, up to date, these have mainly been studied with material and energy flow analysis methods with only few attempts to address the human-dimension of the flows, the real actors and organisations that make the decisions on the use and direction of the flows. In this contribution, the decisions that lead to inter-organisational recycling activities are investigated by drawing from the perspectives of both normative and descriptive decision theory. The central question is, to what degree are these decisions taken in a rational way, and to what degree do they remain uncoordinated, or in a state of 'organised anarchy'? Conclusions are presented for establishing and managing industrial recycling networks.

Keywords: bounded rationality, decision-making, descriptive decision theory, garbage can model, industrial ecology, inter-organisational cooperation, organised anarchies, prescriptive decision theory, recycling networks, human diemnsion, material flows, energy flows

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