Product—service systems (PSSs) are often outlined as potential enablers of new business models for circular economy. However, not all business models based on product-service systems have superior circularity potential. This research demonstrates how the application of a previously developed business model configurator for circular economy can support the design and assessment of customer value, economic and resource decoupling potential for product-service system business models in practice. By applying action research in two Nordic manufacturing companies from the furniture sector, different business model concepts based on product-service systems were proposed and assessed. Results indicate positive uptake by companies regarding the usefulness of the obtained outcomes. This research identified two key findings about ‘product-service system business models for circular economy’: (i) their configuration should fulfil certain simultaneous conditions—i.e. superior customer value, economic growth, and resource decoupling potential—
to contribute to circular economy; and (ii) they are often ‘niche solutions’
, fulfilling specific needs and customer segments, and more likely to flourish with certain types/characteristic of products, segments or geographical locations. Lastly, a framework outlining the conditions and trade-offs for assessing the circularity potential of business models based on product-service systems is introduced as one of the key contributions.
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