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Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 18728

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Labour Resources and Entrepreneurship Department, National University of Water and Environmental Engineering, Rivne 33003, Ukraine
Interests: economics; business performance; human capital; social responsibility; sustainability

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Guest Editor
Labour Resources and Entrepreneurship Department, National University of Water and Environmental Engineering, Rivne 33003, Ukraine
Interests: knowledge management; risks management; social responsibility; sustainability

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Labour Resources and Entrepreneurship Department, National University of Water and Environmental Engineering, Rivne 33003, Ukraine
Interests: innovations; human resources management; productivity management; sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Innovations and sustainable corporate development are nowadays seen as core determinants of both economic progress and the ensuring of well-being, due to their impact on decent quality of life. Sustainable development goal achievement in the challenging pandemic period demands innovative decisions and efforts be made to provide stable entrepreneurial activity, considering its impact on the labour market, employment, and income distribution. Consequently, it is important to maintain the entrepreneurial incentives as a core driver of future development. In this regard, the corporate sustainability in SMEs is complicated because of their higher sensitivity to large-scale changes and sudden stops in the market environment. SMEs, with their high mobility and steep reactions to environmental changes, are able to provide innovative drivers to overcome the crisis, as has been proven by numerous innovative studies. To find, develop and implement business solutions in SMEs, which are simultaneously innovative, economically feasible and socially responsible, has been a challenging task for both policymakers and researchers. The process of sustainable corporate development covers a wide array of research directions, including the following: innovations, R&D, and the development of human resources management; the sustainability of logistics and supply; the development of new economic solutions in the pandemic period; the adjustment of already functioning business processes to the changing political and economic context; government regulation and support of SMEs under the circumstances of business-environmental changes.

Within this specific research scope, the Special Issue “Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs” is collecting texts covering the following topics: social and economic changes happening in the business environment and their influence on corporate sustainability; innovative business solutions in the light of economic behaviour changes; business resources and processes planning in new economic realities; competitiveness and business planning; innovations in SMEs and their links with business performance and social responsibility; the government regulation of changes in the business environment. 

Prof. Dr. Halyna Mishchuk
Dr. Olena Oliinyk
Dr. Iryna Roshchyk
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are 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 semimonthly 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 2400 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

  • changes in the economic behaviour and innovative development of SMEs
  • social and economic changes in the business environment
  • socioeconomic shifts in SMEs activity in the pandemic period
  • supply chains and logistics development
  • human resources and corporate sustainability
  • business performance and social responsibility
  • marketing, branding and competitiveness in the SMEs environment
  • the ecological dimension of business sustainability
  • forecasting business performance and sustainability trends
  • government regulation of changes in the business environment.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 1410 KiB  
Article
Ensuring Sustainable Development in Light of Pandemic “New Normal” Influence
by Halyna Mishchuk, Jakub Jerzy Czarkowski, Anastasiia Neverkovets and Eszter Lukács
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13979; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813979 - 20 Sep 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
The study aims to estimate the possibilities of sustainable development, ensuring and achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in light of challenges caused by the pandemic’s “new normal”. In this regard, the study employs bibliometric and empirical approaches. Based on the bibliometric analysis [...] Read more.
The study aims to estimate the possibilities of sustainable development, ensuring and achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in light of challenges caused by the pandemic’s “new normal”. In this regard, the study employs bibliometric and empirical approaches. Based on the bibliometric analysis results, it is found that the main focus of sustainable development studies during the pandemic is on economic issues (particularly, innovations and strategic decision-making) while also addressing humanitarian problems such as ensuring health and well-being. To find the practical problems in ensuring sustainable development during the pandemic period, we used the case of Ukraine with appropriate empirical analysis at two levels. Therefore, we estimated the achievements of SDGs compared to planned indicators for 2020 (as the last report data available for this study). As a result, the low level of achievements is proven; particularly, only 20% of planned indicators are fulfilled with planned values. Moreover, the sociological research is conducted to reveal the subjective perceptions of the pandemic’s influence on the possibilities of achieving SDGs. The survey was conducted during the second pandemic wave in December 2020–January 2021, involving 416 respondents. The obtained results confirmed the ambiguous influence of the pandemic. On the one hand, the positive changes are typical for healthcare services and distance learning. However, the negative influence of the pandemic’s “new normal” on SDGs is confirmed by respondents through their concerns about the effects of the pandemic on the development of investments and agricultural technologies as well as the progress in goals, such as “Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure” and “Sustainable Cities and Communities”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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17 pages, 492 KiB  
Article
Social Responsibility: Opportunities for Integral Assessment and Analysis of Connections with Business Innovation
by Olena Oliinyk, Halyna Mishchuk, Laszlo Vasa and Katalin Kozma
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 5608; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15065608 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 1909
Abstract
The paper proposes an approach to the integrated assessment of the social responsibility of EU countries with a combination of data from three international indices most relevant to the monitoring of social responsibility at the macroeconomic level: the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, the [...] Read more.
The paper proposes an approach to the integrated assessment of the social responsibility of EU countries with a combination of data from three international indices most relevant to the monitoring of social responsibility at the macroeconomic level: the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, the Sustainable Development Goals Index and the Social Progress Index. Applying the method of taxonomic analysis on the example of index values for EU countries, we assessed the differences and leaders in ensuring social responsibility. The authors do not consider country-level social responsibility only as a consequence of the development of responsible practices at all levels. Taking into account that social responsibility should be a prerequisite for expanding opportunities in all spheres, in particular, in business, the authors conducted a correlational analysis of the relationship between the taxonomic indicator of social responsibility and the development of innovative business. As a result, we confirmed significant connections with “Business sophistication” indicators (as part of the Global Innovation Index) and the share of innovative firms of total SMEs (according to OESD statistics). The obtained results strengthen the grounds for considering social responsibility not only as an important socially oriented concept, but also as a reliable basis for the development of innovative business due to the created comfortable institutional environment of business development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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18 pages, 784 KiB  
Article
Employer Branding in the Fashion Industry: CSR Actions by Fashion SMEs
by Krisztina Szegedi, Tamás Németh and Dorina Körtvési
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15031827 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3596
Abstract
Little is known about SMEs’ perceptions of CSR, sustainability, and business ethics, particularly in the fashion industry. We have even less information on the relationship between SMEs’ CSR actions and employer branding. This important knowledge gap is addressed in this study. We intend [...] Read more.
Little is known about SMEs’ perceptions of CSR, sustainability, and business ethics, particularly in the fashion industry. We have even less information on the relationship between SMEs’ CSR actions and employer branding. This important knowledge gap is addressed in this study. We intend to focus on how small and medium-sized enterprises that are operating and considered sustainable in the fashion industry interpret the concept of sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and business ethics, which CSR elements appear in relation to employees, and how they contribute to employer branding. In the course of our qualitative research, we conducted semistructured, in-depth interviews with the owners and managers of 10 European businesses, bearing sustainability in mind. Our results show that the organisational culture and the reputation perceived by a wide range of stakeholders are the most essential elements of employer branding, which promotes employees’ commitment to sustainable fashion enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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10 pages, 500 KiB  
Article
Cross-Country Linkages and Asymmetries of Sovereign Risk Pluralistic Investigation of CDS Spreads
by Bikramaditya Ghosh, Spyros Papathanasiou and Dimitrios Kenourgios
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14056; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114056 - 28 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1705
Abstract
Credit Default Swap (CDS) spread is a realistic measure of credit risk. Changes in the spreads showcase changes in the underlying uncertainty or credit volatility regarding the credit risk, associated with the asset class. We use Multifractal Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (MF-DFA) to further [...] Read more.
Credit Default Swap (CDS) spread is a realistic measure of credit risk. Changes in the spreads showcase changes in the underlying uncertainty or credit volatility regarding the credit risk, associated with the asset class. We use Multifractal Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (MF-DFA) to further investigate the presence of asymmetries and the difference between Greece and G7 countries in terms of credit risk. We have considered 2587 daily observations for each of the 48 CDS spreads. Hence, a total of 124,176 data points were under consideration across six yearly CDS categories of Greece and most of the G7 countries (Germany, USA, UK, Canada, Japan). The tenure of these CDS were 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years. We have found that the Greek CDS spread movement is purely stochastic and anti-persistent, having practically no predictability at all. On the other hand, the remaining countries’ CDSs were highly predictable, showing a consistent long memory or long-range dependence, having embedded the bubble caused by herding. This is reflected in terms of flight-to-quality behavior and in estimates of CDS premiums for insurance against a default on government bonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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19 pages, 1747 KiB  
Article
Social Capital Factors Fostering the Sustainable Competitiveness of Enterprises
by Halyna Mishchuk, Jana Štofková, Vita Krol, Olena Joshi and László Vasa
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 11905; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141911905 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 2308
Abstract
The study aimed to determine the factors of social capital (SC) of enterprises that can have a significant impact on achieving sustainable competitiveness. In this regard, the study tested the SEM-analysis method for evaluating hypotheses regarding the influence of factors of relational, cognitive [...] Read more.
The study aimed to determine the factors of social capital (SC) of enterprises that can have a significant impact on achieving sustainable competitiveness. In this regard, the study tested the SEM-analysis method for evaluating hypotheses regarding the influence of factors of relational, cognitive and structural social capital of enterprises on financial and non-financial indicators of competitiveness. Empirical data for the study were obtained on the basis of a sociological survey conducted by the authors of managers and owners of enterprises in Ukraine from December 2020 to March 2021. The obtained results and modelled relationships of factors confirmed the significant influence of factors of social capital of enterprises on competitiveness. At the same time, the results revealed the most essential influence of efforts to develop strategic partnerships with suppliers (as part of structural SC), efforts to form a positive image of the enterprise and satisfaction with horizontal relationships (as part of relational SC), general satisfaction with the psychological climate in the team, the establishment of corporate culture as well as own efforts to support and develop corporate culture (among the factors of cognitive SC). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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26 pages, 2843 KiB  
Article
The Competitive Position of Small Business Furniture Industry Enterprises in Poland in the Context of Sustainable Management: Relationships, Interdependencies, and Effects of Activities
by Ryszard Borowiecki, Barbara Siuta-Tokarska, Mateusz Janas, Sylwia Kruk, Paweł Krzemiński, Agnieszka Thier and Katarzyna Żmija
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9368; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159368 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2796
Abstract
This publication discusses the issue of small industrial business companies’ competitiveness in the context of managing competitiveness for the purpose of achieving a specific market position and gaining competitive advantage. The objective of this work is to analyse and present the specificity of [...] Read more.
This publication discusses the issue of small industrial business companies’ competitiveness in the context of managing competitiveness for the purpose of achieving a specific market position and gaining competitive advantage. The objective of this work is to analyse and present the specificity of competitive activities in small business entities and competitiveness management and to identify changes in their competitive position in the different long-term periods analysed. The theoretical part of the work presents a literature review of small business companies’ competitiveness and sustainable management of competitiveness. In this part of the article, the authors present the definition of competitiveness, competitiveness management, and sustainable competitiveness management and present their own model approach based on mind mapping. The study used statistical methods such as taxonomy structure, the Kruskal–Wallis test for independent analyses, and Friedman’s one-way analysis of variance for dependent data. The empirical part presents the authors’ research into the competitive position achieved and declared by companies classified as manufacturers of furniture. The research was divided into two parts: part one refers to qualitative research based on 10 micro businesses; part two presents quantitative research among SMEs. In total, the study covers 304 enterprises, divided into groups by size: 117 micro entities, 100 small entities, and 87 medium companies. The analysed period takes into account the long term, within the years 2008–2020. The main findings of the empirical research are as follows: the competitiveness of small business companies is determined by their qualitative features as well as by the adopted management system, and the sources of competitive advantage in the particular groups of SMEs are not highly diversified by size, with a larger number of medium entities attributing their competitive advantage to qualitative rather than quantitative measures. The achievement of this research objective has allowed for the authors to develop a model of sustainable development of competitiveness in small business companies and present the results of empirical studies. The conducted research is a pioneering contribution to the assessment of the competitive position of the surveyed enterprises and factors influencing their competitiveness in Poland in periods with different external conditions, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account the nature of empirical research undertaken in the article, it is necessary to point out their pioneering character and the related contribution to the development of science in the field of sustainable management and competitiveness of enterprises from the SME sector, and it is also necessary to fill the existing research gap in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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20 pages, 3907 KiB  
Article
Transformation of the Business Process Manager Profession in Poland: The Impact of Digital Technologies
by Olga Pilipczuk
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13690; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413690 - 11 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3849
Abstract
The increasing role of emerging technologies, such as big data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies, cloud computing, and mobile technologies, is essential to the business process manager profession’s sustainable development. Nevertheless, these technologies could involve new challenges in labor [...] Read more.
The increasing role of emerging technologies, such as big data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies, cloud computing, and mobile technologies, is essential to the business process manager profession’s sustainable development. Nevertheless, these technologies could involve new challenges in labor markets. The era of intelligent business process management (BPM) has begun, but how does it look in real labor markets? This paper examines the hypothesis that the transformation of the business process manager profession has been caused by certain determinants that involve the need for an improvement in BPM skills. The main contribution is a model of the dimensions of the impact of digital technologies on business process management supplemented with skills that influence the business process manager profession. The paper fills the gap in research on perspectives of the impact of digital technologies on business process management, considering both a literature analysis and labor market research. The purpose of the literature review was to identify the core dimensions that drive the use of emerging technologies in business process management. The labor market study was conducted in order to analyze the current demand for core skills of business process managers in the Polish labor market with a particular emphasis on the intelligent BPM concept. Additionally, to study the determinants that slow down the iBPM concept’s development, the digital intensity level of the enterprises and public administration units in Poland was studied. Finally, a fuzzy cognitive map presenting the core determinants of the business process manager profession’s transformation is described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corporate Sustainability and Innovation in SMEs)
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