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Special Issue "Sustainable Business Models"

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 December 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Adam Jabłoński

Institute of Management, WSB University Poznań, Faculty in Chorzów, 41-506 Poznań, Poland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0 606 364 500
Interests: trust management; networks; intellectual capital; public management; sustainable business; sustainable business models; business models; performance management; corporate social responsibility; value-based management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The dynamically changing world economy, in an era of intensive development and globalization, creates new needs in both the theoretical models of management and in the practical discussion related to the perception of business. Because of new economic phenomena related to the crisis, there is a need for the design and operationalization of innovative business models for companies. Due to the fact that in times of crisis, the principles of strategic balance are particularly important, these business models can be sustainable business models. Moreover, it is essential to skillfully use different methods and concepts of management to ensure the continuity of business. It seems that sustainable business models, in their essence, can support companies' effectiveness and contribute to their stable, sustainable functioning in the difficult, ever-changing market.

This Special Issue aims to discuss the key mechanisms concerning the design and operationalization of sustainable business models, from a strategic perspective. We invite you to contribute to this issue by submitting comprehensive reviews, case studies or research articles. Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure, with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. Adam Jabłoński
Guest Editor

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.

Keywords

  • sustainable business models
  • green business models
  • sustainable strategy
  • corporate social responsibility vs. value-based management
  • sustainable performance management
  • business continuity
  • sustainable value
  • innovation management

Published Papers (25 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Balanced Scorecard of Sustainable Management in the Taiwanese Bicycle Industry: Development of Performance Indicators and Importance Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 518; doi:10.3390/su8060518
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 21 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 28 May 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (587 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the development of the performance indicators of sustainable management in the Taiwanese bicycle industry and to perform an importance analysis. Based on the Balanced Scorecard concept, the framework of sustainable management is added. Ten
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The main purpose of this study is to investigate the development of the performance indicators of sustainable management in the Taiwanese bicycle industry and to perform an importance analysis. Based on the Balanced Scorecard concept, the framework of sustainable management is added. Ten experts evaluated the performance indicators of a sustainable Balanced Scorecard in the Taiwanese bicycle industry using five major categories: (1) Financial, (2) Customer, (3) Internal Business Processes, (4) Learning and Growth, and (5) Sustainable Development, and a total of 21 performance indicators were used. The analytic network process (ANP) was used to perform an importance analysis of the various performance indicators. Most of the experts suggested that for the introduction of a sustainable management strategy into the bicycle industry in Taiwan, it is necessary to include the definition of sustainable management and to improve five performance indicators: innovation process, customer satisfaction, operations process, after-sales service, and market share. According to the analysis results, this study proposed relevant management definitions and suggestions to be used as important references for decision-makers to understand the introduction of sustainable management strategies to the current bicycle industry in Taiwan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Novel Co-Creative Framework for Redesigning Product Service Systems
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 434; doi:10.3390/su8050434
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 26 April 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 3 May 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Product service systems (PSS) have been researched in academia and implemented in industry for more than a decade, and they bring plenty of benefits to various stakeholders, such as: customers, PSS providers, the environment, as well as society. However, the adoption of PSS
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Product service systems (PSS) have been researched in academia and implemented in industry for more than a decade, and they bring plenty of benefits to various stakeholders, such as: customers, PSS providers, the environment, as well as society. However, the adoption of PSS in industry so far is limited compared to its potentials. One of the reasons leading to this limitation is that PSS design is tricky. So far, there are several methods to design PSS, but each of them has certain limitations. This paper proposes a co-creative framework, which is constructed using the concept of user co-creation. This novel framework allows designers to design PSS effectively in terms of users’ perception of PSS value, design quality and evaluation. The authors also introduce a case study to demonstrate and validate the proposed framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Research on Business Models in their Life Cycle
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 430; doi:10.3390/su8050430
Received: 18 January 2016 / Revised: 22 April 2016 / Accepted: 27 April 2016 / Published: 30 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper presents the results of theoretical discussions and research findings in the field of designing sustainable business models that support the creation of value at various stages of the business life cycle. The paper presents selected findings of extensive research into the
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The paper presents the results of theoretical discussions and research findings in the field of designing sustainable business models that support the creation of value at various stages of the business life cycle. The paper presents selected findings of extensive research into the business models of Polish companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Companies which are at various stages of development should build and adapt their business models in order to maintain the ability to create value for stakeholders. Characteristics of business models at the early stages of development are different than at mature stages. The paper highlights the differences in business models in the context of the life cycle of companies and sustainability criteria. The paper presents research findings which show that the company’s development can be seen from the point of view of the business model. Research on business models concentrated on identifying the key attributes and the configuration of the business models appropriate for the early stage of development as well as the maturity stage. It was found that the business models of companies at an early stage of the development of companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange are oriented primarily to how the company shapes, delivers, and captures value from the market in order to generate profits for shareholders and increase the value of the company, while the business models of mature companies include the intentions of management used to balance objectives with respect to different groups of stakeholders, and to carefully formulate and implement business objectives with particular attention paid to preserving the sustainability of the business. The assessment of business models from the point of view of the life cycle proves that managers change their approach to configuring business models over time; at some point, they include management intentions aimed at a broader range of goals than merely generating profits. At the early stage, it is important to adapt the business model to the ability to create value for shareholders by actively searching for the optimal configuration of the business model. Here a component approach to making rapid changes in the structure of the business model is essential. The business model of mature companies is based on assumptions ensuring the long-term viability of the business and is holistic in nature. When the company moves from the stage of early development to the maturity stage, business models change in such a way that the assumptions of the Triple Bottom Line concept become increasingly important, as expressed in the joint implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility and Value-Based Management assumptions. At the early stage of development, the business model strengthens the need to create value for shareholders and is not as dependent on strong partnerships with a large number of stakeholders. At the maturity stage, it is important to balance the objectives of all stakeholders and to build long-term relationships with them. As regards relationships with the environment, business models at these two stages are different. The paper presents research on the business models of companies at their early stage of development as well as mature companies, taking into consideration the assumptions of the Sustainable Business Model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Diversification Models of Sales Activity for Steady Development of an Enterprise
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 393; doi:10.3390/su8040393
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
PDF Full-text (1448 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper substantiates the importance of the optimal directionality choice of sales activity as one of the main lines of enterprise activity, the functioning of which should be complete, synchronous and complementary. Diversification is one of the powerful instruments to ensure the steady
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The paper substantiates the importance of the optimal directionality choice of sales activity as one of the main lines of enterprise activity, the functioning of which should be complete, synchronous and complementary. Diversification is one of the powerful instruments to ensure the steady development of the sales activity of an enterprise. Three models of sales activity diversification of an enterprise are developed. The first model is based on unveiling the potential of sales channels and allows us to show the peculiarities of their use. The second model of the optimal quantitative distribution of production between sales channels is based on profit maximization. This approach not only takes into account the evaluation of the prescribed parameters of sales channels, but also provides the high profitability of each assortment item and of the whole enterprise. The third model of the optimal distribution of production between sales channels accounts for the experience of collaboration between the enterprise and sales channels during the past period and ensures the minimal risk and appropriate profitability for each sales channel. The proposed models are tested and compared to actual data of the enterprise; the advantages and peculiarities of each model are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Process Performance by Application of Six Sigma Concepts: The Research Study of Two Industrial Cases
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 260; doi:10.3390/su8030260
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
PDF Full-text (1849 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current approach to business management focuses on increasing the performance of business processes. To achieve the required processes performance means to ensure the required quality and capability of processes. The partial aim of this paper is to confirm the positive effects of
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The current approach to business management focuses on increasing the performance of business processes. To achieve the required processes performance means to ensure the required quality and capability of processes. The partial aim of this paper is to confirm the positive effects of the Six Sigma methodology (SSM) on the corporate performance in the Slovak Republic and an investigation of the dependency of SSM implementation on the certified quality management system (QMS) as a set-forward condition via a questionnaire survey carried out in Slovak industrial enterprises. The survey results confirmed the above-mentioned assumptions. The SSM using DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) was applied in real conditions of two manufacturing enterprises with a different level of quality management system. The results of the research study proved a possibility to implement SSM and to use the same methods in enterprises aside from a level of QMS. However, more remarkable results were achieved by the enterprise which introduced QMS. The first application of SSM in enterprises within specific conditions of furniture production processes can be considered to be a contribution of the research study, as well. The result of the work is the model including the methodology and the appropriate combination of methods and tools for assuring the sustainable performance of the business processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Risk Management in Critical Infrastructure—Foundation for Its Sustainable Work
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 240; doi:10.3390/su8030240
Received: 24 October 2015 / Revised: 10 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 4 March 2016
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Abstract
The paper concerns research related to the European project CIRAS and presents a validation experiment with the use of a risk management tool adapted for critical infrastructures. The project context and state of the art are discussed. The adaptation of the risk management
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The paper concerns research related to the European project CIRAS and presents a validation experiment with the use of a risk management tool adapted for critical infrastructures. The project context and state of the art are discussed. The adaptation of the risk management tool is performed according to previously elaborated requirements which consider interdependencies, cause-consequences analysis, risk measures and risk register implementation. A novel structured risk management method was proposed how to deal with internal and external impacts of a hazardous event which occurred in the given CI. The method is embedded into the critical infrastructure resilience process. These requirements can be implemented on the ready-to-use software platform for further experiments. The experimentation results are used as the input for CIRAS. The discussed tool can be applied as the risk reduction component in the CIRAS Tool, and the validation process presented here is the basis to elaborate two project use cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Opportunities for Cross-Border Entrepreneurship Development in a Cluster Model Exemplified by the Polish–Czech Border Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 230; doi:10.3390/su8030230
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 12 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 2 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The subject of the paper is the analysis and evaluation of cross-border entrepreneurship development opportunities on the basis of cross-border cooperation, which has gradually evolved from consisting of bilateral partnerships to a networking model or even a cluster. The study conducted at the
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The subject of the paper is the analysis and evaluation of cross-border entrepreneurship development opportunities on the basis of cross-border cooperation, which has gradually evolved from consisting of bilateral partnerships to a networking model or even a cluster. The study conducted at the Polish–Czech border area indicates that, in terms of the development of cross-border cooperation, the economic sphere is lagging far behind social activities such as culture, education and tourism. At the same time, Polish and Czech enterprises are not sufficiently mobilized to develop cross-border entrepreneurship, although a number of support instruments in this regard have been proposed. Sustainable development of the border should take into account both social and economic aspects. An important research problem therefore becomes determining the possibility of boosting the development of cross-border entrepreneurship on the basis of the existing forms of cross-border cooperation, including cooperation in the social sphere. The aim of this paper is to define the conditions and opportunities for the development of cluster cooperation in the area of cross-border entrepreneurship. The author has attempted to resolve whether the intensity of cross-border cooperation can be a factor which mobilizes companies to develop their cross-border entrepreneurship and whether cross-border entrepreneurship can be further developed within the cluster model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle The Design of a Sustainable Location-Routing-Inventory Model Considering Consumer Environmental Behavior
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 211; doi:10.3390/su8030211
Received: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our aim is to design a sustainable supply chain (SSC) network, which takes into consideration consumer environmental behaviors (CEBs). CEBs not only affect consumers’ demand for products with low carbon emissions, they also affect their willingness to pay premium prices for products with
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Our aim is to design a sustainable supply chain (SSC) network, which takes into consideration consumer environmental behaviors (CEBs). CEBs not only affect consumers’ demand for products with low carbon emissions, they also affect their willingness to pay premium prices for products with low carbon emissions. We incorporate CEBs into the SSC network model involving location, routing and inventory. Firstly, a multi-objective optimization model comprised of both the costs and the carbon emissions of a joint location-routing-inventory model is proposed and solved, using a multi-objective particle swarm optimization (MOPSO) algorithm. Then, a revenue function including CEBs is presented on the basis of a Pareto set of the trade-off between costs and carbon emissions. A computational experiment and sensitivity analysis are conducted, employing data from the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The results clearly indicate that our research can be applied to actual supply chain operations. In addition, some practical managerial insights for enterprises are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Scalability of Sustainable Business Models in Hybrid Organizations
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 194; doi:10.3390/su8030194
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 2 February 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2016 / Published: 23 February 2016
PDF Full-text (3244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The dynamics of change in modern business create new mechanisms for company management to determine their pursuit and the achievement of their high performance. This performance maintained over a long period of time becomes a source of ensuring business continuity by companies. An
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The dynamics of change in modern business create new mechanisms for company management to determine their pursuit and the achievement of their high performance. This performance maintained over a long period of time becomes a source of ensuring business continuity by companies. An ontological being enabling the adoption of such assumptions is such a business model that has the ability to generate results in every possible market situation and, moreover, it has the features of permanent adaptability. A feature that describes the adaptability of the business model is its scalability. Being a factor ensuring more work and more efficient work with an increasing number of components, scalability can be applied to the concept of business models as the company’s ability to maintain similar or higher performance through it. Ensuring the company’s performance in the long term helps to build the so-called sustainable business model that often balances the objectives of stakeholders and shareholders, and that is created by the implemented principles of value-based management and corporate social responsibility. This perception of business paves the way for building hybrid organizations that integrate business activities with pro-social ones. The combination of an approach typical of hybrid organizations in designing and implementing sustainable business models pursuant to the scalability criterion seems interesting from the cognitive point of view. Today, hybrid organizations are great spaces for building effective and efficient mechanisms for dialogue between business and society. This requires the appropriate business model. The purpose of the paper is to present the conceptualization and operationalization of scalability of sustainable business models that determine the performance of a hybrid organization in the network environment. The paper presents the original concept of applying scalability in sustainable business models with detailed interpretation. The paper and its findings are based on longitudinal research with participant observation, bibliographic research and the author’s own experience in the processes of building and implementing business models in the years 2005–2015. At the time, the author observed the conceptualization and operationalization of several business models of companies operating in the Polish market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of the Internal Side of Social Responsibility on Firm Competitive Success in the Business Services Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 179; doi:10.3390/su8020179
Received: 27 December 2015 / Revised: 12 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 18 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (415 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work focuses on the internal side of social responsibility of organizations in a regional context. Through a survey of 590 managers in classical business services (human-capital intensive) and representative of the productive economy of the Region of Extremadura (Spain), an empirical analysis
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This work focuses on the internal side of social responsibility of organizations in a regional context. Through a survey of 590 managers in classical business services (human-capital intensive) and representative of the productive economy of the Region of Extremadura (Spain), an empirical analysis is conducted. First, a factor analysis is conducted to explore the main dimensions of the internal face of Social Responsibility and second, a structural equations model is developed to look for a relationship with business competitiveness. Business performance and innovation are also considered in the model. The main contribution of the article is the establishment of a set of indicators that will help to build an ongoing and meaningful dialogue with employees improving their quality of life at work that will also serve as important guidance for the increasing of the firm’s competitiveness through responsible human resources practices. Some suggestions for a research agenda emerge from this first attempt to approach the internal side of responsibility in business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Automobile Industry Strategic Alliance Partner Selection: The Application of a Hybrid DEA and Grey Theory Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 173; doi:10.3390/su8020173
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2016 / Published: 17 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (903 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Finding the right strategic alliance partner is a critical success factor for many enterprises. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to propose an effective approach based on grey theory and data envelopment analysis (DEA) for selecting better partners for alliance. This study
[...] Read more.
Finding the right strategic alliance partner is a critical success factor for many enterprises. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to propose an effective approach based on grey theory and data envelopment analysis (DEA) for selecting better partners for alliance. This study used grey forecasting to predict future business performances and used DEA for the partner selection of alliances. This research was implemented with realistic public data in four consecutive financial years (2009–2012) of the world’s 20 biggest automobile enterprises. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd was set to be the target decision making unit (DMU). The empirical results showed that, among 19 candidate DMUs, Renault (DMU10) and Daimler (DMU11) were the two feasible beneficial alliance partners for Nissan. Although this research is specifically applied to the automobile industry, the proposed method could also be applied to other manufacturing industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Does Business Model Affect CSR Involvement? A Survey of Polish Manufacturing and Service Companies
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 93; doi:10.3390/su8020093
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 2 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
PDF Full-text (517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study explores links between types of business models used by companies and their involvement in CSR. As the main part of our conceptual framework we used a business model taxonomy developed by Dudzik and Witek-Hajduk, which identifies five types of models: traditionalists,
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The study explores links between types of business models used by companies and their involvement in CSR. As the main part of our conceptual framework we used a business model taxonomy developed by Dudzik and Witek-Hajduk, which identifies five types of models: traditionalists, market players, contractors, distributors, and integrators. From shared characteristics of the business model profiles, we proposed that market players and integrators will show significantly higher levels of involvement in CSR than the three other classes of companies. Among other things, both market players and integrators relied strongly on building own brand value and fostering harmonious supply channel relations, which served as a rationale for our hypothesis. The data for the study were obtained through a combined CATI and CAWI survey on a group of 385 managers of medium and large enterprises. The sample was representative for the three Polish industries of chemical manufacturing, food production, and retailing. Statistical methods included confirmatory factor analysis and one-way ANOVA with contrasts and post hoc tests. The findings supported our hypothesis, showing that market players and integrators were indeed more engaged in CSR than other groups of firms. This may suggest that managers in control of these companies could bolster the integrity of their business models by increasing CSR involvement. Another important contribution of the study was to propose and validate a versatile scale for assessing CSR involvement, which showed measurement invariance for all involved industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Analytical Business Model for Sustainable Distributed Retail Enterprises in a Competitive Market
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 140; doi:10.3390/su8020140
Received: 12 November 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
PDF Full-text (2966 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Retail enterprises are organizations that sell goods in small quantities to consumers for personal consumption. In distributed retail enterprises, data is administered per branch. It is important for retail enterprises to make use of data generated within the organization to determine consumer patterns
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Retail enterprises are organizations that sell goods in small quantities to consumers for personal consumption. In distributed retail enterprises, data is administered per branch. It is important for retail enterprises to make use of data generated within the organization to determine consumer patterns and behaviors. Large organizations find it difficult to ascertain customer preferences by merely observing transactions. This has led to quantifiable losses, such as loss of market share to competitors and targeting the wrong market. Although some enterprises have implemented classical business models to address these challenging issues, they still lack analytics-based marketing programs to gain a competitive advantage to deal with likely catastrophic events. This research develops an analytical business (ARANN) model for distributed retail enterprises in a competitive market environment to address the current laxity through the best arrangement of shelf products per branch. The ARANN model is built on association rules, complemented by artificial neural networks to strengthen the results of both mutually. According to experimental analytics, the ARANN model outperforms the state of the art model, implying improved confidence in business information management within the dynamically changing world economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle CSR Reporting Practices of Polish Energy and Mining Companies
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 126; doi:10.3390/su8020126
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 22 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting receives much attention nowadays. Communication with stakeholders is a part of assumed social responsibility, thus the quality of information disclosed in CSR reports has a significant impact on fulfilment of the responsibility. The authors use content analysis of
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting receives much attention nowadays. Communication with stakeholders is a part of assumed social responsibility, thus the quality of information disclosed in CSR reports has a significant impact on fulfilment of the responsibility. The authors use content analysis of selected CSR reports to describe and assess patterns and structure of information disclosed in them. CSR reports of Polish companies have similar structures at a very high level of analysis, but a more detailed study reveals much diversity in approaches to the report’s content. Even fairly similar companies may devote significantly different amounts of space to the same issue. The number of similar stakeholders varies irrespectively of the company’s size. Considerable diversity of reporting patterns results from the nature of CSR reporting, because it concerns highly entity-specific issues. Thus, such considerable diversity is not surprising. However, many initiatives and efforts are devoted to greater comparability of reporting, so a greater degree of uniformity can be expected. Similar conclusions may be drawn from integrated reports’ analysis, though a small sample reflects the relative novelty of this trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Inter-Organisational Coordination for Sustainable Local Governance: Public Safety Management in Poland
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 123; doi:10.3390/su8020123
Received: 23 November 2015 / Revised: 22 January 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2016 / Published: 28 January 2016
PDF Full-text (1040 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The goal of this article is to examine the basic characteristics and factors that impact inter-organisational coordination in sustainable local governance to address: 1. What are the factors that effective inter-organisational coordination between independent units creating public safety system on local level in
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The goal of this article is to examine the basic characteristics and factors that impact inter-organisational coordination in sustainable local governance to address: 1. What are the factors that effective inter-organisational coordination between independent units creating public safety system on local level in sustainable local governance depends on? 2. What are the principal features of inter-organisational coordination in the public safety management system studied in the context of sustainable local governance? The article’s goal was reached using desk research analysis and empirical research. The desk research covers an analysis of international scientific publications. In turn, the empirical research was based on the example of public safety management. It covered interviews with practitioners dealing with public safety and a hermeneutic process within a focus group of scholars. As a result of the conducted research, interdependencies between coordination and other factors of inter-organisational collaboration were identified and the process of inter-organisational coordination during the emergency situations was characterised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Aspects of Social Responsibility of Public Sector Organizations
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 19; doi:10.3390/su8010019
Received: 2 October 2015 / Revised: 30 November 2015 / Accepted: 9 December 2015 / Published: 25 December 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (192 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In addition to determining social responsibility policies that affect the market and social actors, certain governments also set objectives related to their internal activity. For example, one of the activities of the German government is to implement the concept of social responsibility into
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In addition to determining social responsibility policies that affect the market and social actors, certain governments also set objectives related to their internal activity. For example, one of the activities of the German government is to implement the concept of social responsibility into public institutions. In the Netherlands, one of the government tasks is to set an example for responsible practices (government as a role model). The aim of this paper is to examine firstly whether public sector entities set an example for responsible practices, especially with regard to respect for the environment, and secondly, whether public sector organizations in Poland significantly differ from organizations abroad in terms of their practices in the field of environmental protection. A questionnaire was a basis for data collection. The questionnaires were distributed to representatives of deliberately selected public sector organizations located primarily in Europe. The study was conducted in 2012–2013 on a group of 220 public sector organizations (102 Polish and 118 other European). The paper presents only the selected part of research. Public sector organizations in Poland do not have internal mechanisms of environmental responsibility. There is a significant discrepancy between the state of the environmental responsibility of organizations located in Poland and abroad. Obtained results show that public sector organizations, those in Poland in particular, are making their first steps in developing internal environmental responsibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle A New Systematic Approach to Vulnerability Assessment of Innovation Capability of Construction Enterprises
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 17; doi:10.3390/su8010017
Received: 5 October 2015 / Revised: 8 December 2015 / Accepted: 18 December 2015 / Published: 25 December 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (593 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to study the vulnerability of construction enterprises’ innovation capabilities (CEIC) and their respective primary influencing factors. This paper proposed a vulnerability system framework of CEIC, designed two comprehensive assessments for analysis, namely the entropy and set pair
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The purpose of this research is to study the vulnerability of construction enterprises’ innovation capabilities (CEIC) and their respective primary influencing factors. This paper proposed a vulnerability system framework of CEIC, designed two comprehensive assessments for analysis, namely the entropy and set pair analysis method (E-SPA) and the principle cluster analysis and SPA method (P-SPA), and compared grades to verify the vulnerability assessments. Further, the paper quantitatively assessed the major influencing factors in facilitating management, reducing vulnerability, and improving the ability of construction enterprises to respond to changes in the construction industry. The results showed that vulnerability could be effectively and systematically evaluated using E-SPA. However, managing or reducing entrepreneurial sensitivity and improving the ability to respond was critical to supporting sustainable CEIC. The case studies included in this paper suggested that in ensuring sustainable CEIC, companies should concentrate on highly educated human resources, R&D investments, intellectual property related innovations, and government support. This research provided a practical framework and established a sustainable strategy for companies to manage their vulnerability in developing innovation capability. In addition, this research presented an innovative and effective way to quantitatively analyze vulnerability which offered a foundation to signify a new paradigm shift in construction sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Research on Consumers’ Use Willingness and Opinions of Electric Vehicle Sharing: An Empirical Study in Shanghai
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/su8010007
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 2 December 2015 / Accepted: 17 December 2015 / Published: 23 December 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3634 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An empirical study in Shanghai was performed to explore consumers’ use willingness and opinions on electric vehicle sharing (EVS) to help operators effectively operate and expand the new business model. Through the multinomial logistic regression developed for different groups, the results show that
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An empirical study in Shanghai was performed to explore consumers’ use willingness and opinions on electric vehicle sharing (EVS) to help operators effectively operate and expand the new business model. Through the multinomial logistic regression developed for different groups, the results show that the factors of the main trip mode in daily use, monthly transportation expenditure, driving range of electric vehicles, gender, age, marital status and occupation have significant influences on consumers’ use willingness. In short, the population characteristics of people choosing to use EVS are male, aged between 18 and 30 and usually taking the subway and bus as the daily transportation modes. Otherwise, the factors of the acceptable highest price of EVS, occupation and personal monthly income have significant impacts on the use willingness of people who keep a neutral stance. These people pay more attention to convenience and the economy of EVS. These results reveal that a reasonable price, accurate positioning of target groups, convenient site layout and usage are required for operators to successfully launch a new transportation mode of EVS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Employees’ Work Values and Organizational Management on Corporate Performance for Chinese and Taiwanese Construction Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16836-16848; doi:10.3390/su71215852
Received: 20 July 2015 / Revised: 29 November 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 21 December 2015
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Abstract
Through questionnaire surveys, this study explored the discrepancies in work values and organizational management between employees and cadre members of construction enterprises on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Statistical methods including data reliability, regression analysis, and tests of significance were utilized
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Through questionnaire surveys, this study explored the discrepancies in work values and organizational management between employees and cadre members of construction enterprises on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Statistical methods including data reliability, regression analysis, and tests of significance were utilized for modelling a case study. The findings of this study included: (1) in terms of work values, employees from China focused on their lives “at present”, while those from Taiwan focused on their lives “in the future”, expecting to improve the quality of their lives later on through advanced studies and promotion; (2) according to the data obtained from the questionnaires, the answers regarding income and welfare in terms of work values and satisfaction were contradictory on the two sides of the Strait, which could be interpreted in terms of influence from society; and (3) there was a significant influence of organizational management on employees’ intentions to resign. If enterprises could improve current organizational management systems, their employees’ work attitudes would be improved and the tendency to resign would be reduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle How Firms Can Get Ideas from Users for Sustainable Business Innovation
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16039-16059; doi:10.3390/su71215802
Received: 3 October 2015 / Revised: 21 November 2015 / Accepted: 27 November 2015 / Published: 3 December 2015
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Abstract
The importance of user information and user participation for seeking business opportunities has been widely acknowledged in a variety of industries. Therefore, this study aims to suggest a typology for user innovation models as a strategy for sustainable development and to investigate the
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The importance of user information and user participation for seeking business opportunities has been widely acknowledged in a variety of industries. Therefore, this study aims to suggest a typology for user innovation models as a strategy for sustainable development and to investigate the characteristics of different types user innovation to encourage and support improved utilization of user innovation in firms. For this purpose, we began by collecting 435 relevant papers from the most-cited academic journals. Then, we developed a typology of user innovation models, which consist of four types including workshop-based, consortium-based, crowdsourcing-based and platform-based, and we investigated the characteristics of the suggested types in terms of applications and research trends. The analysis results reveal that each type has different characteristics and that there exist some research gaps in the user innovation field. Our results are expected to foster understanding of user innovation for guiding sustainable business development and provide useful information for both researchers and innovation mangers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Weak and Strong Compensation for the Prioritization of Public Investments: Multidimensional Analysis for Pools
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16022-16038; doi:10.3390/su71215798
Received: 9 September 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 24 November 2015 / Published: 2 December 2015
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Abstract
Despite the economic crisis still heavily affecting most of Europe, a possible resumption can be found in the revitalization of public and private investments. These investments should be directed not only towards the strategic areas of infrastructures and production, but also to those
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Despite the economic crisis still heavily affecting most of Europe, a possible resumption can be found in the revitalization of public and private investments. These investments should be directed not only towards the strategic areas of infrastructures and production, but also to those which allow for a higher level of the quality of life (sports facilities, parks, etc.). In such cases, the need to balance the reasons of financial sustainability with environmental and social profiles is even more evident. Thus, multicriteria techniques, supporting complex assessments, should be implemented together with a monetary feasibility study (cost-benefit analysis). Multidimensional methods allow for the aggregation of different profiles into overall indicators. This study gives an account of how the application and comparison of multi-criteria approaches based on tools characterized by a higher or lower level of compensation between criteria can broaden the spectrum of analysis of the problems and lead to a more subtle logic of funding for public works and works of public utility, with a more current and mature sharing of profitability between private investors and users of community infrastructures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle The Concept of Sustainable Strategy Implementation
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 15847-15856; doi:10.3390/su71215790
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 30 November 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (622 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The idea of sustainable development has been present in the field of management for many years, yet the challenges and rules of contemporary business mean that it remains topical. At the same time, the results of much research indicates an unsatisfactory level of
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The idea of sustainable development has been present in the field of management for many years, yet the challenges and rules of contemporary business mean that it remains topical. At the same time, the results of much research indicates an unsatisfactory level of execution of development concepts. Due to this, the subject of the study encompasses the implementation of the idea of sustainability in the strategy execution process, lending it a holistic and balanced nature. The purpose of the paper is an examination of the relationship between strategy implementation and the effectiveness of the strategy execution process. The relationships between the perspectives defined and results obtained by organizations were investigated. The research demonstrated the existence of a positive correlation of varied intensity. It is thus possible to identify a positive influence of the integration of the idea of sustainability with strategy execution, which is reflected in the effectiveness of activities undertaken. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Repetitive Model Refinement for Questionnaire Design Improvement in the Evaluation of Working Characteristics in Construction Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 15179-15193; doi:10.3390/su71115179
Received: 15 July 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 11 November 2015 / Published: 17 November 2015
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Abstract
This paper presents an iterative confidence interval based parametric refinement approach for questionnaire design improvement in the evaluation of working characteristics in construction enterprises. This refinement approach utilizes the 95% confidence interval of the estimated parameters of the model to determine their statistical
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This paper presents an iterative confidence interval based parametric refinement approach for questionnaire design improvement in the evaluation of working characteristics in construction enterprises. This refinement approach utilizes the 95% confidence interval of the estimated parameters of the model to determine their statistical significance in a least-squares regression setting. If this confidence interval of particular parameters covers the zero value, it is statistically valid to remove such parameters from the model and their corresponding questions from the designed questionnaire. The remaining parameters repetitively undergo this sifting process until their statistical significance cannot be improved. This repetitive model refinement approach is implemented in efficient questionnaire design by using both linear series and Taylor series models to remove non-contributing questions while keeping significant questions that are contributive to the issues studied, i.e., employees’ work performance being explained by their work values and cadres’ organizational commitment being explained by their organizational management. Reducing the number of questions alleviates the respondent burden and reduces costs. The results show that the statistical significance of the sifted contributing questions is decreased with a total mean relative change of 49%, while the Taylor series model increases the R-squared value by 17% compared with the linear series model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
Open AccessArticle Development of an Innovation Model Based on a Service-Oriented Product Service System (PSS)
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 14427-14449; doi:10.3390/su71114427
Received: 1 August 2015 / Revised: 20 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 28 October 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2123 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, there have been many attempts to cope with increasingly-diversified and ever-changing customer needs by combining products and services that are critical components of innovation models. Although not only manufacturers, but also service providers, try to integrate products and services, most of the
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Recently, there have been many attempts to cope with increasingly-diversified and ever-changing customer needs by combining products and services that are critical components of innovation models. Although not only manufacturers, but also service providers, try to integrate products and services, most of the previous studies on Product Service System (PSS) development deal with how to effectively integrate services into products from the product-centric point of view. Services provided by manufacturers’ PSSes, such as delivery services, training services, disposal services, and so on, offer customers ancillary value, whereas products of service providers’ PSSes enrich core value by enhancing the functionality and quality of the service. Thus, designing an effective PSS development process from the service-centric point of view is an important research topic. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to propose a service-oriented PSS development process, which consists of four stages: (1) strategic planning; (2) idea generation and selection; (3) service design; and (4) product development. In the proposed approach, the PSS development project is initiated and led by a service provider from a service-centric point of view. From the perspective of methodology, customer needs are converted into product functions according to Quality Function Deployment (QFD), while Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is employed to prioritize the functions. Additionally, this paper illustrates a service-oriented PSS development that demonstrates the application of the proposed process. The proposed process and illustration are expected to serve as a foundation for research on service-oriented PSS development and as a useful guideline for service providers who are considering the development of a service-oriented PSS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Designing the Business Models for Circular Economy—Towards the Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 43; doi:10.3390/su8010043
Received: 12 November 2015 / Revised: 14 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 18 January 2016
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1341 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Switching from the current linear model of economy to a circular one has recently attracted increased attention from major global companies e.g., Google, Unilever, Renault, and policymakers attending the World Economic Forum. The reasons for this are the huge financial, social and environmental
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Switching from the current linear model of economy to a circular one has recently attracted increased attention from major global companies e.g., Google, Unilever, Renault, and policymakers attending the World Economic Forum. The reasons for this are the huge financial, social and environmental benefits. However, the global shift from one model of economy to another also concerns smaller companies on a micro-level. Thus, comprehensive knowledge on designing circular business models is needed to stimulate and foster implementation of the circular economy. Existing business models for the circular economy have limited transferability and there is no comprehensive framework supporting every kind of company in designing a circular business model. This study employs a literature review to identify and classify the circular economy characteristics according to a business model structure. The investigation in the eight sub-domains of research on circular business models was used to redefine the components of the business model canvas in the context of the circular economy. Two new components—the take-back system and adoption factors—have been identified, thereby leading to the conceptualization of an extended framework for the circular business model canvas. Additionally, the triple fit challenge has been recognized as an enabler of the transition towards a circular business model. Some directions for further research have been outlined, as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)

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