An exploratory study into emerging market SMEs’ involvement in the circular Economy: Evidence from India’s indigenous Ayurveda industry

Vijay Pereira*, M. K. Nandakumar, Sreevas Sahasranamam, Umesh Bamel, Ashish Malik, Yama Temouri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the extent to which SMEs can adapt and develop circular economy practices in an emerging market context. Since the evidence provided by the literature is mostly based on large firms operating in developed countries, our focus on India's indigenous Ayurveda industry allows a much-needed and nuanced lens through which to view circular economy activities. We use a two-step research design involving a systematic bibliometric analysis as a first step in the highlighting of numerous themes emanating from the circular economy literature. Second, we complement these insights with two case studies based on SMEs in the Indian Ayurveda industry. Our findings reveal that SMEs engage and contribute to the circular economy. More specifically, we present unique insights into the reasons, drivers, and motivations for SME involvement in the circular economy, wherein we observe a blending of indigenous practices and modern technology. Our findings allow us to propose several important implications for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-199
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date05 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.K. Nandakumar: Dr. M.K. Nandakumar is a Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK). He is a member of the Peer Review College of the British Academy of Management and an editorial board member of the Journal of International Management and Management Decision. He has worked in three leading universities in the United Kingdom: the University of Salford, Middlesex University, and the University of East London, London. His papers have been published in leading journals such as R&D Management, Journal of International Management, Journal of Business Research, Long Range Planning, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, International Studies of Management and Organization, Management Decision, and more. Dr. Nandakumar has trained thousands of managers and executives from leading organizations during his executive development programs. His flagship management program entitled Professional Certificate Programme in Advanced Strategic Management attracts many managers every year. He has secured a research grant under British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants SRG 2019. He has supervised many Ph.D. students to successful completion. At IIMK, he has worked in significant administrative positions such as the Chairman of International Relations, Chairman of International Accreditation, and the Strategic Management Department chairman. He teaches many courses at the MBA and Doctoral levels and also on the Executive Education Programmes. He has successfully led the Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation project at IIMK. His paper published in Management Decision has been chosen as a Highly Commended Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011. His book entitled Organisational Flexibility and Competitiveness was published by Springer in 2014.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Ayurveda
  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Circular economy
  • Emerging markets
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative case study
  • SME

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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