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Special Issue "Social Innovation and Value Co-Creation: Finding the Strategic Link in Business Management towards 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: closed (31 October 2017)

Special Issue Editors

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. Tindara Abbate

University of Messina
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social innovation; open innovation; sustainability; tourism management; marketing
Guest Editor
Dr. Cecilia Silvestri

University of “Tuscia” of Viterbo
Website | E-Mail
Interests: quality approach; total quality management; ISO 9000; sustainability; customer orientation and satisfaction
Guest Editor
Prof. Alfonso Vargas Sanchez

University of Huelva, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: strategic management; innovation; sustainability; tourism management; smart destinations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to collect theoretical and empirical studies that contribute to develop a better understanding of Social Innovation and value co-creation, taking into account the growing pressures and emerging opportunities in the ‘sustainability’ agenda.

Social innovation is more oriented to find different answers to social problems by identifying and delivering novel services that improve the social quality of life, and by identifying and implementing new competencies and new forms of participation, collaboration, and relationships among individuals and organizations to produce solutions. In fact, within this innovation ecosystem, several actors (such as citizens, government, foundations, firms, social organizations, universities, etc.) are intensely involved in the social innovation, using different open forms of collaboration that are good ways to co-create and co-develop ideas and knowledge in order to define sustainable solutions, to respond social challenges, and also to promote changes in social systems. In this perspective, firms need to manage these types of innovation projects/activities, developing and realizing strategies within an evident paradox: Social innovation is not about maximizing economic value but social value, and this might contrast with traditional practices. Additionally, in relation to social innovation activities, the development of products and services mainly contemplate a process of exchanging ideas and value among a large number of actors that are more oriented to assume an active role in collaborative activities and networks in which they can concretely contribute to solve complex social problems.

Moreover, even if cooperation and exchange of ideas are characteristics of social innovation, these features are also fundamental principles of quality approaches, such as TQM or ISO 9001, where principles as “customer focus”, “involvement of people”, and “mutually beneficial supplier relationships” play a pivotal role. Therefore, it can be said that quality and innovation are two necessary pillars in order to achieve lasting competitive advantages to be understood as "sustainable development" for firms.

This Special Issue intends to encourage novel theorizing and research able to enrich our knowledge about relationships among strategy, social innovation, quality approach, value co-creation and sustainability. The purpose is to examine the relevant role of social innovation and value co-creation in defining new activities and practices able to lead to common economic, social and environmental objectives.

Prof. Barbara Aquilani
Dr. Tindara Abbate
Dr. Cecilia Silvestri
Prof. Alfonso Vargas Sanchez

Keywords

  • Social Innovation

  • value co-creation

  • sustainability

  • ecosystems

  • open collaborative networks

  • quality approach

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Community Participation, Natural Resource Management and the Creation of Innovative Tourism Products: Evidence from Italian Networks of Reserves in the Alps
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2314; doi:10.3390/su9122314
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 13 December 2017
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Abstract
The paper analyses value co-creation and social innovation focusing on a new approach to the management of Natura 2000 areas: the Networks of Reserves (NoRs). NoRs have been set up in Trentino (an Italian alpine area) to create an ecological network within the
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The paper analyses value co-creation and social innovation focusing on a new approach to the management of Natura 2000 areas: the Networks of Reserves (NoRs). NoRs have been set up in Trentino (an Italian alpine area) to create an ecological network within the territory, with a particular focus on the socio-economic dimensions of nature conservation and with a bottom-up approach. The research investigates the role of NoRs by using a quali-quantitative approach to analyse the attitudes and awareness of private stakeholders, public actors and local communities. In-depth interviews with NoRs coordinators and key players in tourism organizations were carried out. 167 online questionnaires were sent out to local stakeholders. The research investigates community participation and stakeholder engagement in NoRs’ projects and activities, whether and how socio-economic development has occurred, and whether and how innovative sustainable tourism offers have been created. It confirms the role of NoRs in relation to the conservation and valorisation of natural resources through the stimulation of activities such as environmental interpretation and education. The research demonstrates the effectiveness of bottom-up processes for the co-creation of sustainable tourism offers and the fostering of social innovation. NoRs have proved to be successful in overcoming the major impediments to the functioning of the Natura 2000 network highlighted in the literature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Interpreting Sustainability through Co-Evolution: Evidence from Religious Accommodations in Rome
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2301; doi:10.3390/su9122301
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 2 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
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Abstract
In recent decades, concepts such as sustainability, innovation, and competitiveness have become fundamental for the development of tourist destinations, and thus, particularly, for the generation of value co-creation processes. To understand the role of tourism firms in these processes, more theoretical and empirical
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In recent decades, concepts such as sustainability, innovation, and competitiveness have become fundamental for the development of tourist destinations, and thus, particularly, for the generation of value co-creation processes. To understand the role of tourism firms in these processes, more theoretical and empirical research is required. This paper addresses this need by examining the increasing role played by religious accommodations, adopting a co-evolutionary approach to sustainability and the resulting value co-creation processes. The study focuses on the dynamics of the relationship between this new hospitality model, territories, and tourists, through the analysis of six case studies localized in the historic centre of Rome (Italy). Findings show that religious accommodations can be considered as a new sustainability-oriented hospitality model that, by creating effective multi-level co-evolutionary adaptations with its territory and tourists, positively affects sustainable development as well as the generation of value co-creation processes. The paper contributes significantly both to sustainability literature and to the study of new hospitality models. Thus, theoretical and managerial implications emerge, together with suggestions for future research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Does Value Co-Creation Really Matter? An Investigation of Italian Millennials Intention to Buy Electric Cars
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2159; doi:10.3390/su9122159
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 18 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 23 November 2017
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Abstract
The present research aims to explore the determinants of (full) electric vehicle (EV) buying intention of Italian millennials focusing on the role that value co-creation initiatives might play in the buying decision-making process. Value co-creation initiatives in the EV domain are studied employing
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The present research aims to explore the determinants of (full) electric vehicle (EV) buying intention of Italian millennials focusing on the role that value co-creation initiatives might play in the buying decision-making process. Value co-creation initiatives in the EV domain are studied employing an enhanced version of the Theory of Reasoned Action which, in addition to the traditional variables of the model, also includes perceived importance of cars’ attributes. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is used to analyze the data collected though an online survey on 523 Italians aged 18–35. The outcomes provide recommendations to tailor proper initiatives to encourage millennials’ buying intention of electric vehicles supporting private companies in favoring the adoption of wide-spread pro-environmental behaviors among Italian youngsters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Social Life Cycle Assessment in the Textile Sector: An Italian Case Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2092; doi:10.3390/su9112092
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 8 November 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
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Abstract
This study presents the first application of the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) to a textile product made in Sicily (Italy), according to the Social Life Cycle Assessment guidelines (UNEP). The main goal is to assess and present the social values of a
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This study presents the first application of the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) to a textile product made in Sicily (Italy), according to the Social Life Cycle Assessment guidelines (UNEP). The main goal is to assess and present the social values of a product manufactured in a particular territorial area where the presence of an industry represents the main source of employment. The first part of the study is a literature review of the current state of the art of the S-LCA and its implementation to textile products. In the implementation, particular attention is paid in identifying the positive impacts and in highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the method when applied in this specific sector. The functional unit of the study is an order for a garment (consisting of 495 capes in a soft blend of wool and cashmere), produced by a textile company located in Sicily (Italy). The system boundaries of the study include all phases from cradle-to-gate, i.e. from raw material production through fabric/accessory production to the manufacturing process of the product itself at the company. Background and foreground processes are taken into account using specific and generic data. Two stakeholder groups have been considered (workers and local communities) as those that can better represent the company’s value in the territory. The analysis carried out on the functional unit of the study allowed assessing social performance related to the specific textile product, but also to outline the general behaviour of the company. Results offer to scholars a perspective on which to focus their future researches in the sector and highlight that S-LCA is a valuable tool to support business decisions, assessing the social impact of the product to improve the social conditions of stakeholders. However, the access to primary and/or good quality local, national and global data is essential to draw credible conclusions; consequently, every effort to promote the application for S-LCA is highly suggested. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Levels of CSR Disclosure by Forestry Companies in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1800; doi:10.3390/su9101800
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
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Abstract
Abstract: With the international community’s increasing concern for social and environmental problems, the fulfilment and disclosure of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been advocated and promoted across the world. Forestry companies, which are particularly sensitive to environmental and social issues, are increasingly
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Abstract: With the international community’s increasing concern for social and environmental problems, the fulfilment and disclosure of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been advocated and promoted across the world. Forestry companies, which are particularly sensitive to environmental and social issues, are increasingly developing and improving their levels of CSR disclosure. However, information on emerging country contexts is still lacking. To fill this gap, this study focuses on Chinese forestry companies’ CSR disclosure and introduces new disclosure indices through content analysis of annual reports by listed companies between 2011–2015. It then builds a correlation analysis of the factors influencing these companies’ disclosure indices in order to gain a better understanding of the current situation for CSR implementation by forestry companies in emerging economies like China. Although context-specific, our findings can provide a reference for researchers and policy makers, and promote sustainable development via improved CSR disclosure by forestry companies, especially in developing regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Enabling Value Co-Creation in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Mobike
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1504; doi:10.3390/su9091504
Received: 23 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
The disruptive rise of the sharing economy has inspired multiple social innovations embodying significant potential towards achieving urban sustainability in crucial areas like low-carbon mobility. Increasingly, consumers in such sharing systems participate in activities of value co-creation together with firms and peers, such
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The disruptive rise of the sharing economy has inspired multiple social innovations embodying significant potential towards achieving urban sustainability in crucial areas like low-carbon mobility. Increasingly, consumers in such sharing systems participate in activities of value co-creation together with firms and peers, such as through enforcing rules that help maintain trust and reciprocity. Why do people choose to invest their time and energy in co-creating values that may benefit wider social and environmental sustainability in the sharing economy? This study addresses this question through an analysis of an emerging shared mobility community, the innovative socio-economic relationships it has spawned, and the cultural and cognitive forces that underpin these new forms of economic organization and value creation in relation to sustainability. Through a mixed method case study of a newly emerged free-floating bike sharing system in China, called Mobike, the paper explores the main enabling factors which is transforming people from passive product/service receivers to active value co-creators in the sharing economy, such as self-efficacy, cognition of duty, anticipated awards and learning processes. The paper argues that business, social and government organizations may leverage these enabling factors to achieve a more sustainable sharing business and society. Finally, based on quantitative and qualitative data analysis, the article proposes a value co-creation framework between users and firms that involves a clear social learning process on the one hand, and has strong links with social innovations towards sustainability, on the other. Full article
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