E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Industry 4.0 and the Internet of things: changes in business model, strategy formulation and implementation, firm operations towards sustainable development and sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Corrado Gatti

Department of Management - Sapienza University of Roma 9, Via del Castro Laurenziano, 00161 Roma, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: strategic decision making; corporate restructuring; negotiations; the systems approach to management; corporate finance; performance measurement
Guest Editor
Prof. Barbara Aquilani

Department of Business and Economics (DEIM) - University 'Tuscia' of Viterbo 47, Via del Paradiso, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: value co-creation; open innovation; sustainability; business strategy; marketing
Guest Editor
Dr. Michela Piccarozzi

Department of Enterprise and Engineering, Society and Management (DEIM) - University of 'Tuscia' of Viterbo 47, Via del Paradiso, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: innovation; University Spin-off (USOs); strategic planning, business plan and firms creation’s process; innovative start-ups

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to collect theoretical and empirical studies that contribute to developing a better understanding of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of things, taking into account the key changes in management and emerging opportunities towards sustainable development and sustainability.  

Over the last few years, the fourth industrial revolution has attracted attention from all around the world. The evolution of digital technologies has put firms in the face of an anticipated change in paradigms and approaches to management. The new technological trends, the advent of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of things (IoT), make it necessary to reflect on corporate and business strategies and their effectiveness with respect to the new technological context. Businesses need to define new strategies, new implementation modalities, different methods and tools to success in this new scenario. Industrial automation, connection and aggregation of different data in corporate information systems are phenomena that need to be studied in-depth so make them contribute to the new business strategy bringing concrete benefits. However, it is not possible to talk about innovation and industry without reference to sustainable development and sustainability.

Indeed, Industry 4.0 and sustainability are linked twofold. On the one hand, Industry 4.0 can help in achieving sustainable development, also assuring, for example, the preservation of resources on behalf future generations. On the other hand, sustainability represents the main aim of achievement for firms willing to effectively competing in the nowadays scenario. Indeed, it is essential that technological and industrial developments allow the achievement of environmental, economic and, of course, social sustainability objectives. Therefore, firms should be able to effectively use tools and opportunities pertaining to Industry 4.0 in shaping their organization, strategies, policies and operations to achieve a sustainable development and/or foster sustainability at a more general level.

Despite the great interest regarding Industry 4.0, the topic is quite new and there is lack of literature about it, from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Moreover, the link between Industry 4.0 and sustainability has not been investigated under its different profiles until now.

This Special Issue intends to encourage novel theories and research able to enrich the scholars and firms knowledge, focusing on the analysis of changes in business models, strategy formulation and implementation, management approaches for firms operating in the new outlined scenario also willing to achieve a sustainable development and/or foster sustainability. Additionally, studies on computer systems, able to interact with physical systems in which firms operate, are of interest for this Special Issue. Contributions could also focus on consequent internal changes, operations modifications, and on how the firm interact with new ecosystems characterized by an important technological background. Papers can embrace each perspective deemed to the particular paper aim and can be developed also at an inter-disciplinary level. Theoretical, conceptual and/or empirical analysis (qualitative and/or quantitative methods) can be used, following the aim of the submitted paper. 


Prof. Corrado  Gatti
Prof. Barbara  Aquilani
Dr. Michela  Piccarozzi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Industry 4.0

  • Internet of things

  • sustainability

  • sustainable development

  • strategy formulation

  • strategy implementation

  • innovation

  • business model

Published Papers (1 paper)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-1
Export citation of selected articles as:


Open AccessArticle What Drives the Implementation of Industry 4.0? The Role of Opportunities and Challenges in the Context of Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010247
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
The implementation of Industry 4.0 has a far-reaching impact on industrial value creation. Studies on its opportunities and challenges for companies are still scarce. However, the high practical and theoretical relevance of digital and connected manufacturing technologies implies that it is essential to
[...] Read more.
The implementation of Industry 4.0 has a far-reaching impact on industrial value creation. Studies on its opportunities and challenges for companies are still scarce. However, the high practical and theoretical relevance of digital and connected manufacturing technologies implies that it is essential to understand the underlying dynamics of their implementation. Thus, this study examines the relevance of Industry 4.0-related opportunities and challenges as drivers for Industry 4.0 implementation in the context of sustainability, taking a differentiated perspective on varying company sizes, industry sectors, and the company’s role as an Industry 4.0 provider or user. A research model comprising relevant Industry 4.0-related opportunities and challenges as antecedents for its implementation is hypothesized. In order to test the model, partial least square structural equation modeling is applied for a sample of 746 German manufacturing companies from five industry sectors. The results show that strategic, operational, as well as environmental and social opportunities are positive drivers of Industry 4.0 implementation, whereas challenges with regard to competitiveness and future viability as well as organizational and production fit impede its progress. Moreover, it is shown that the perception of Industry 4.0-related opportunities and challenges as antecedents to Industry 4.0 implementation depends on different company characteristics. Full article

Figure 1

Back to Top