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Special Issue "Sustainable Leadership and Management"

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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 (28 February 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Gayle C. Avery (Website)

Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, 2109 NSW, Australia; and CEO, Institute for Sustainable Leadership (ISL), PO Box 6168, Pymble, NSW Australia
Interests: sustainable leadership; management development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable leadership and management refer to approaches that promote organizational performance, productivity and profitability, while serving people and the planet. Enterprises embracing sustainable leadership principles develop an interrelated set of systems, processes and cultures that promote resilience and high performance within the organization. Firmly embedded in the organizational culture, sustainable leadership practices influence the way in which managers, leaders and followers throughout the organization carry out their roles.

Resilient high performing enterprises seem to follow a completely different leadership philosophy from business-as-usual. Alternatives to the short-term, shareholder-centric leadership philosophy behind “business-as-usual” are increasingly supported by research findings.

In this issue we seek answers to the following questions: What are the components of sustainable leadership and management? What is it that distinguishes firms able to survive and thrive in turbulent times from their poorer performing competitors? If managers and leaders know that sustainable leadership practices are likely to lead to better outcomes for the organization, why don’t they adopt these practices? What are the barriers to adoption? How does the nature of sustainable leadership and management vary in different cultures and contexts?

Prof. Dr. Gayle C. Avery
Guest Editor

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords

  • sustainable leadership practices
  • management
  • human resource management
  • change
  • performance
  • productivity
  • resilience

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Conceptualizing the Limiting Issues Inhibiting Sustainability Embeddedness
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 364; doi:10.3390/su8040364
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 4 April 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (983 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There can be little doubt that sustainability has become one of the most important issues in business in recent years. In spite of sustainability’s importance, there is agreement amongst leaders and practitioners that sustainability is not as embedded as desired. This study [...] Read more.
There can be little doubt that sustainability has become one of the most important issues in business in recent years. In spite of sustainability’s importance, there is agreement amongst leaders and practitioners that sustainability is not as embedded as desired. This study reports a framework on inhibitors that limit sustainability embeddedness in organizations. The framework can assist management to address the non-achievement antecedents of embeddedness specifically and holistically. This study obtained empirical data from employees on all management levels in a stock exchange-listed company. Through in-depth analysis in a case organization, valuable insights about embeddedness were inductively identified, interpreted and presented using descriptive labels, namely: “Professing What Is Right”; “Green Distraction”; the belief of “Not My Job”; “Firefighter”; the “Past Performance Anchor”; “Strategy Discourse” and “Harmony”—a mediator to sustainability embeddedness. All these were also found to be altered by the transformation of culture and the communication of the strategy message by sustainable leadership—the moderator. The findings were also corroborated by related and supporting literature as part of our contribution and pursuit for better understanding of this phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Leadership Practices Driving Financial Performance: Empirical Evidence from Thai SMEs
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 327; doi:10.3390/su8040327
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
PDF Full-text (648 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many managers and researchers alike are asking: What does an enterprise need to do to generate a proper balance between economic, social, and ecological objectives while gaining superior corporate financial performance, resilience, and sustainability? Several leadership concepts for enhancing organizational sustainability have [...] Read more.
Many managers and researchers alike are asking: What does an enterprise need to do to generate a proper balance between economic, social, and ecological objectives while gaining superior corporate financial performance, resilience, and sustainability? Several leadership concepts for enhancing organizational sustainability have emerged in recent years, but none provides an integrative approach, with the exception of Sustainable Leadership (SL). However, empirical research examining the effects of various SL practices on financial performance and other business outcomes is lacking. This article addresses this gap by empirically investigating the relationships between 23 SL practices and financial performance. Using a cross-sectional survey, data stem from 439 managers in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand. Of the 23 SL practices in SL, 16 were significantly associated with corporate financial performance. Four SL practices, in particular—amicable labor relations, valuing employees, social responsibility, plus strong and shared vision—were significant drivers, and positive predictors, of enhanced long-term firm performance. Lastly, implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle Women on Boards and Corporate Social Responsibility
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 300; doi:10.3390/su8040300
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
PDF Full-text (725 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A growing body of research suggests that having more women in the boardroom leads to better corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. However, much of this work views the CSR-enhancing effect of women directors as largely driven by their moral orientations and rarely [...] Read more.
A growing body of research suggests that having more women in the boardroom leads to better corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. However, much of this work views the CSR-enhancing effect of women directors as largely driven by their moral orientations and rarely considers other underlying mechanisms. Moreover, less explored are the firm-specific conditions under which such CSR-promoting roles of female directors might be performed more (or less) effectively. In this paper, we seek to bridge this gap in the literature by (1) proposing an additional account for the positive influence of female independent directors on the firm’s CSR and (2) illuminating the organizational context in which female directorship is likely to translate into good CSR performance. We argue that women independent directors might take CSR issues more seriously than their male counterparts not only because of their stronger moral orientations, but also because they have reputational reasons to do so. Further, we suggest that female directors’ concerns about CSR-relevant matters are more (less) likely to gain support from other members of the organization when their company is doing more (less) business in the product markets where reputation for CSR is more (less) vital for success. Using a sample of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 1500 index firms (2000–2009) and the data on their board composition and CSR ratings, we find strong support for our argument. We find that the number (or proportion) of women independent directors is positively associated with a firm’s CSR ratings and that the strength of this relationship depends on the level of the firm’s consumer market orientation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Environmental Management Practices and Supply Chain Integration on Technological Innovation Performance—Evidence from China’s Manufacturing Industry
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 15342-15361; doi:10.3390/su71115342
Received: 21 August 2015 / Revised: 21 October 2015 / Accepted: 13 November 2015 / Published: 19 November 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How to effectively implement environmental management practices and supply chain integration to enhance technological innovation performance has become crucial in both research and practice. Based on resource-based view (RBV) theory, a theoretical model to determine the relationship between environmental management practices, supply [...] Read more.
How to effectively implement environmental management practices and supply chain integration to enhance technological innovation performance has become crucial in both research and practice. Based on resource-based view (RBV) theory, a theoretical model to determine the relationship between environmental management practices, supply chain integration, supply chain knowledge sharing, and technological innovation performance was proposed. Based on data collected from one hundred and twelve Chinese manufacturing enterprises, the empirical results show that environmental management practices have a significantly positive influence on technological innovation performance, and supply chain integration plays a moderating role on the relationship. In addition, the results indicate that supply chain integration is also a predictive variable of technological innovation performance and supply chain knowledge sharing. Our findings suggest that practitioners should couple environmental management practices with supply chain integration to improve technological innovation performance in addition to environmental performance, which has been substantiated in literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban Development Calls for Responsibility through Life Cycle Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12539-12563; doi:10.3390/su70912539
Received: 19 August 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban development bestows a great opportunity to increase sustainability in the built environment as cities are responsible for the majority of environmental impacts. However, the urban development process is fragmented and sub-optimization leads to unsustainable life cycle outcomes. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
Urban development bestows a great opportunity to increase sustainability in the built environment as cities are responsible for the majority of environmental impacts. However, the urban development process is fragmented and sub-optimization leads to unsustainable life cycle outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine the urban development process from a life cycle perspective and identify how different actors understand life cycle management. By utilizing an inductive qualitative research design, 38 in-depth thematic interviews were conducted within the Finnish urban development industry including a case study and independent interviews from different phases of the urban development life cycle. The theoretical perspective is a combination of the ecosystem construct and life cycle management. Results show that there is no clear responsible actor for life cycle management in urban development. All actors claim that there is value to be added, mostly in economic, but also environmental and social terms. This study reveals that investors should be the responsible actor in the urban development process. By claiming responsibility and focusing on life cycle leadership we can improve sustainability in urban development, and respond to the urban sustainability challenge, thus improving the quality of life and welfare in our urban society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle Designing and Validating a Model for Measuring Sustainability of Overall Innovation Capability of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 537-562; doi:10.3390/su7010537
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1085 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The business environment is currently characterized by intensified competition at both the national and firm levels. Many studies have shown that innovation positively affect firms in enhancing their competitiveness. Innovation is a dynamic process that requires a continuous, evolving, and mastered management. [...] Read more.
The business environment is currently characterized by intensified competition at both the national and firm levels. Many studies have shown that innovation positively affect firms in enhancing their competitiveness. Innovation is a dynamic process that requires a continuous, evolving, and mastered management. Evaluating the sustainability of overall innovation capability of a business is a major means of determining how well this firm effectively and efficiently manages its innovation process. A psychometrically valid scale of evaluating the sustainability of overall innovation capability of a firm is still insufficient in the current innovation literature. Thus, this study developed a reliable and valid scale of measuring the sustainability of overall innovation capability construct. The unidimensionality, reliability, and several validity components of the developed scale were tested using the data collected from 175 small and medium-sized enterprises in Iran. A series of systematic statistical analyses were performed. Results of the reliability measures, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and several components of validity tests strongly supported an eight-dimensional (8D) scale of measuring the sustainability of overall innovation capability construct. The dimensions of the scale were strategic management, supportive culture and structure, resource allocation, communication and networking, knowledge and technology management, idea management, project development, and commercialization capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)

Other

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Open AccessCase Report The Framework for KM Implementation in Product and Service Oriented SMEs: Evidence from Field Studies in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2980-3000; doi:10.3390/su7032980
Received: 24 January 2015 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 12 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Knowledge management (KM) is a core competency that determines the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this knowledge-based economy. Instead of competing on the basis of physical and financial capital, the success of SMEs is influenced by the knowledge, experience [...] Read more.
Knowledge management (KM) is a core competency that determines the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this knowledge-based economy. Instead of competing on the basis of physical and financial capital, the success of SMEs is influenced by the knowledge, experience and skills of the owners and its employees. Unfortunately, many SMEs are still struggling with KM implementation due to lacking a comprehensive KM framework. This study aims to identify enablers for KM success and build up a framework for KM implementation in service and product oriented SMEs. By using multiple research methods, this study collects data from SMEs in Taiwan to prove our suggested enablers and reference KM framework. The suggested framework can provide useful assistance and guidance for holistic KM solutions. The K-object concept, which adopted the XML standard, may become a significant managerial and technical element in the KM practice. The enhanced KM framework mandates every employee’s participation in knowledge activities, not just some elite knowledge workers. The findings provide useful implications for researchers and practitioners by providing useful templates for implementing KM initiatives in different industries and more comprehensive framework for KM implementation in different types of SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
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