The Role of Repair as a Resource for Resilience: Case Studies on the Effects of Repair Outcomes of Essential Products

Sahra Svensson-Hoglund, Patric Nordbeck, Jessika Luth Richter, Jennifer D. Russell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


In both the US and EU, policymakers and government agencies are acknowledging the
importance of having access to repair options, particularly for vulnerable product users who depend on their products. As such, repair can play an important role as a resource for resilience, but research is missing. We propose that repair can act as a resource for resilience. A comprehensive, structured way to understand this role of repair is needed to: (1) show how repair is a social interest and thereby increase public willingness to overcome current barriers to repair, and; (2) ensure that current policy efforts to increase access to repair succeed at strengthening the resilience of product users.

To test this framing, we use four case studies on the breakdown of essential products; laptops in schools, tractors at farms; cell phones in refugee camps, and ventilators at hospitals. Our findings indicate that the conditions under which repair can function as a resource for resilience can be regarded as a span: on one end repair is crucial for continued functioning, due to the lack of other options in the pre-breakage context; on the other end, repair constitutes, compared to other available options, the most beneficial strategy for restoring functionality. Further, the effectiveness of repair as a resource for resilience is determined by the conditions of repair as high vs. low friction. Moreover, we find that while repair constitutes, in itself, a resource for resilience, it also has the potential to act as a gateway to other resources for resilience, such as financial and social. Implications for policy and future research are briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th PLATE Conference
EditorsKirsi Niinimäki, Kirsti Cura
PublisherAalto University Publication
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-64-1367-9
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept
Event5th Conference on Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) - Espoo, Finland
Duration: 2023 May 312023 Jun 2


Conference5th Conference on Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics and Business
  • Psychology


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