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An Empirical Study on the Manufacturing Firm’s Strategic Choice for Sustainability in SMEs

Graduate School of Business, Sogang University, 35 Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04107, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 572;
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 17 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in SMEs)
PDF [670 KB, uploaded 24 February 2018]


To survive in the current competitive, unpredictable business environment, it is significant for firms to search and enforce capabilities that lead them to adapt and cope with dynamic changes of environment for their sustainability. We try to connect operation issues with sustainability in this paper. From the perspective of the dynamic capabilities of the firm, this study suggests a conceptual model that presents relationships among supply chain visibility, modular design, supply chain flexibility, and agility. We do not focus on the module buyer but on the small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs). An empirical study is performed to verify the relationships proposed, using datasets collected from 232 manufacturing SMEs as module suppliers in South Korea. We used SPSS to analyze data and structural equation modeling to verify the hypotheses of the research model. The important contributions of this study are as follows. Firstly, we suggest relationships among supply chain visibilities and a modular design for supply chain flexibility and agility in sustainable performance. Secondly, we show that supply chain visibility directly leads firms to implement modular design in sustainable development. Thirdly, we verify the importance of supply chain visibility, not for module buyers, but for module suppliers by switching views in terms of SMEs’ sustainability. Lastly, this study shows that the suppliers’ modular design affects supply chain flexibility and agility, which is consistent with the findings presented in the literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; SMEs; supply chain visibility; modular design; flexibility; agility sustainability; SMEs; supply chain visibility; modular design; flexibility; agility

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Suh, C.J.; Lee, I.T. An Empirical Study on the Manufacturing Firm’s Strategic Choice for Sustainability in SMEs. Sustainability 2018, 10, 572.

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