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Morphogenesis of Industrial Symbiotic Networks

Erika Džajić Uršič

The study deals with Industrial Symbiosis (IS), a term used to describe a network of diverse organizations that make use of different by-products to improve their facility to achieve common goals, improve environmental conditions or improve business and technical processes. Industrial symbiosis is understood as a technological material as well as a social relationship between so-called social actors, which are involved in the exchange of secondary resources.

The author proposes a model for the evaluation of the possibilities to establish such industrial symbiosis with a study benchmark of seven industrial symbiotic examples used to build a qualitative multi-criteria decision model for the evaluation of the industrial symbiotic network model. With the data obtained from the best-known industrial symbiotic cases in the world, the author examines the importance of social actors’ involvement in industrial symbiosis both in their industrial and non-industrial technological processes.

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6 Modelling results and evaluations of case studies

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The (new) model is based on seven developments of industrial symbiotic networks. All indicators are selected from the studies of those industrial symbiotic cases. For each of the cases, we have presented how the values of the attributes are obtained. It is very difficult to measure each attribute quantitatively, hence we used a qualitative approach to measure the attributes. Even more, we have defined several qualitative indicators for each of the attributes and counted how many of them are fulfilled. The indicators are drawn from the literature on the seven industrial symbiotic cases, so that we define the indicators as exhaustively as possible, and at the same time to avoid focusing only on one industrial symbiotic network case.

The empirical framework is designed and the qualitative data indicate the research questions outlined. The ontological premises and the epistemological social foundations of the research are addressed. The main limitations of the methodological approach adopted are carefully examined. Basic concepts required for modelling sociological phenomena are used, and the data are collected from secondary empirical case studies. The process of selection (based on physical, organizational, and social conditions) of case studies, the criteria used, and the decisions of appropriateness of industrial symbiotic networks ensure clear identification of the criteria (attributes). These quantitative data can help distinguish successful from unsuccessful performances of industrial symbiotic networks and use only reliable and valid predictive measures of success. For better explanations, and to ensuring the validity of results, we have described these...

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