Special Issue "Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (17 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli
Website
Guest Editor
Politecnico di Bari, Via Edoardo Orabona, 4, 70126 Bari BA, Italy
Interests: innovation management; alliances and networks; technology strategy; patenting, technology transfer; university-industry collaborations; search and recombination
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Lorenzo Ardito
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanics Mathematics and Management, Polytechnic University of Bari, Bari, Italy
Interests: innovation management; technology management; sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The interest in the relationship between firm size and innovation management dates back to the pioneering studies by Schumpeter. So far, a wealth of research has been conducted on this topic. However, in-depth discussion about the influence of firm size on sustainable innovation management has been neglected.

That is, in the context of sustainable innovation management, there has been the tendency to rely on the “conventional” theories regarding the role of firm size. However, such theories may be not completely valid in this context because of the specific peculiarities differentiating sustainable innovations from conventional ones (e.g., regulations, types of firms - e.g., family vs. non-family - ultimate goals, openness, ethics, and more complex innovation outcomes). Therefore, in the realm of sustainable innovation, a reassessment/repositioning of the role of firm size can be reasonable.

Specifically, it has been proven that firm size may directly affect innovation performance or how firms shape their strategic orientations, organizational structure, knowledge management system, etc. to innovate. Yet, whether these direct influences of firm size remain the same in the context of sustainable innovation management is still an open area of research. Furthermore, it has been shown that, in some cases, the direct effect of firm size is moderated/mediated by other factors (e.g., absorptive capacity) or, conversely, firm size acts as a moderating/mediating factor in explaining innovation performance.

This implies that the direct effects that firm size has on sustainable innovation management may be subject to some of its specificities. Likewise, the effects of factors already proved to influence sustainable innovation practices, processes, and outcomes, especially if they are contradictory, can be reassessed by distinguishing firms by their size.

All in all, we contend that there are many open issues in the literature regarding firm size and sustainable innovation management. In line with the above debate, we invite original contributions that increase our comprehension on this topic. We look for papers with theoretical insights, empirical data analysis, case studies or other suitable methods to shed new light on a variety of lines of inquiry, such as:

  • repositioning/reconceptualizing the role of firm size in the context of sustainable innovation management;
  • assessing which aspects of sustainable innovation management (strategic orientations, organizational structure, business models, firms’ openness, etc.) are mainly influenced by firm size;
  • assessing which are the specificities characterizing sustainable innovation practices, processes, and outcomes that may help to revisit the role of firm size;
  • reassessing the influence of factors affecting practices, processes, and outcomes related to sustainable innovations in light of the potential moderating influence of firm size;
  • evaluating the moderating/mediating factors of the relationship between firm size and sustainable innovation management practices, processes, and outcomes.

Prof. Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli
Assist. Prof. Lorenzo Ardito
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 1800 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

  • Firm size
  • Sustainable innovation management
  • Sustainable innovation practices, processes, and outcomes
  • Innovation performance
  • Strategic management

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216072 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this paper, we introduce the themes addressed and the approaches used in the Special Issue “Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management” to investigate the relationships between firm size and sustainable innovation management. Specifically, by offering multiple perspectives of analysis, this work increases [...] Read more.
In this paper, we introduce the themes addressed and the approaches used in the Special Issue “Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management” to investigate the relationships between firm size and sustainable innovation management. Specifically, by offering multiple perspectives of analysis, this work increases our comprehension and understanding of the role of firm size for sustainable innovation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Social Entrepreneurship in the Conduct of Responsible Innovation: Analysis Cluster in Mexican SMEs
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3714; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133714 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
Responsible innovation combines philanthropic and economic aspects and it is common to refer to entrepreneurs who lead it as “social entrepreneurs”. The present study of 100 Mexican small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), provides knowledge of an exploratory nature about what the models of [...] Read more.
Responsible innovation combines philanthropic and economic aspects and it is common to refer to entrepreneurs who lead it as “social entrepreneurs”. The present study of 100 Mexican small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), provides knowledge of an exploratory nature about what the models of organization are conducive to SMEs in the generation and development of responsible innovations. Through the statistical technique of cluster analysis, this study identified and characterized four models of organization according to the level of social entrepreneurship intentions reached: (1) “The techno-scientific organization”, (2) “The techno-social organization”, (3) “The capitalist-social organization” and (4) “The capitalist organization”. While in Europe the dominant discourse about responsible innovation focuses on the control of the risk of social rejection of the advance of science and technology. In contexts, such as the Mexicans, the phenomenon is configured as the mechanism through which entrepreneurs articulate its technological and scientific capabilities to solve priority and specific problems of the society, however, the social impact does not crucially affect their business initiatives. The techno-scientific organization (50% of studied SMEs) is proposed as the model of organization with greater viability for Mexican entrepreneurs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of Collaborative Activities for Sustainable Supply Chain Innovation: An Analysis of the Firm Size Effect
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3026; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113026 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This study examines the effects of collaborative and implementation activities on environmental performance for sustainable supply chain management. Specifically, the proposed research investigates the moderating effect of firm size on the effect relationships. The structural equation modeling with AMOS 23.0 was employed to [...] Read more.
This study examines the effects of collaborative and implementation activities on environmental performance for sustainable supply chain management. Specifically, the proposed research investigates the moderating effect of firm size on the effect relationships. The structural equation modeling with AMOS 23.0 was employed to test hypotheses. The results confirm the positive effects of collaborative activities on environmental performance and the positive relationship between collaborative activities and green certification programs in both small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large-sized firms. Contrary to general belief, firm size did not moderate the relationship between autonomous collaborative activities and green activities. However, other relationships were supported in the research model, thus firm size partially moderates the relationships of collaborative activities with implementation activities and environmental performance. The study demonstrates that implementation activities play a key role in improving collaborative activities with suppliers and vendors for sustainable supply chain innovation. Additionally, it contributes to the practice of sustainable supply chain innovation as well as to efficiency through collaborative activities in the supply chain process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Small-to-Medium Size Forest Enterprises on Rural Livelihood: Evidence from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102989 - 26 May 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Small-to-medium-sized forest enterprises (SMFEs) offer numerous benefits to rural communities and society as a whole. Less attention has been paid to the sustainability of SMFEs in terms of improving the livelihood of rural communities. This study aims to assess the impact of SMFEs [...] Read more.
Small-to-medium-sized forest enterprises (SMFEs) offer numerous benefits to rural communities and society as a whole. Less attention has been paid to the sustainability of SMFEs in terms of improving the livelihood of rural communities. This study aims to assess the impact of SMFEs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan, and evaluate their potential role in reducing poverty and promoting rural livelihoods. Primary data were collected from 350 household heads and analyzed using econometric methodologies: The ordinary least squares (OLS) and ordered logit model. Household income, a wealth index, and five capitals of sustainable livelihood have been considered to gauge the impact of SMFEs. The results of the study reveal that there is a strong positive association between SMFEs and improvement in a rural community’s livelihood. The results further showed that households engaged in SMFE-related activities earn 3% more income and possess about 24% more assets. These findings are robust for various dimensions of sustainable livelihood and show positive effects of SMFEs on livelihood assets. This study continues the discussion on several practical implications along with recommendations for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2775; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102775 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
This paper explores the relationship between firm size and sustainable innovation in large international firms. To this end, we develop a labor demand framework. The contribution to the literature is to explore external knowledge in determining the employment impact of sustainable innovation. Our [...] Read more.
This paper explores the relationship between firm size and sustainable innovation in large international firms. To this end, we develop a labor demand framework. The contribution to the literature is to explore external knowledge in determining the employment impact of sustainable innovation. Our investigation is based on firms in three economic areas: Europe, Japan, and the United States. In this way, we will appreciate the extent to which the technological spillovers are important from a geographical perspective. The findings provide evidence of the significance of spillover effects on a firm’s size; however, these effects depend on the spillover stock type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
Open AccessArticle
Firm Size and Age mediating the Firm Survival-Hedging Effect: Hayes’ 3-Way Parallel Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 887; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030887 - 08 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
A James Gaskin Excel Macro Analysis is performed to determine the reliability of our scales, and a 3-way parallel mediation using the Andrew Hayes’ PROCESS model is applied to test the formulated hypotheses. Results show that hedging has a direct effect on firms’ [...] Read more.
A James Gaskin Excel Macro Analysis is performed to determine the reliability of our scales, and a 3-way parallel mediation using the Andrew Hayes’ PROCESS model is applied to test the formulated hypotheses. Results show that hedging has a direct effect on firms’ survival; firms’ size and age individually do not strongly influence these effects, but a combination of the two does. We, therefore, concluded that while the hedging-survival effect exists on all forms of hedging, the practice of hedging is consequential for firms on the premise of their ages and numbers of employees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Firm Size and the Business Model for Sustainable Innovation
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4785; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124785 - 14 Dec 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
Companies innovate towards sustainability because this may allow them to improve both their socio-environmental and economic performance. Firms that lead the way evolve towards a sustainable business model. However, small and large businesses face different challenges. This research therefore analyses the role of [...] Read more.
Companies innovate towards sustainability because this may allow them to improve both their socio-environmental and economic performance. Firms that lead the way evolve towards a sustainable business model. However, small and large businesses face different challenges. This research therefore analyses the role of firm size in the business model developed towards sustainable innovation. The sample was obtained from the database of companies that make up the Global Reporting Initiative. The projects presented in the reports were seen as vehicles to support sustainable innovation. The method used was quantitative content analysis. The results show that the size of the company influences on how the supply chain and the financial elements of the business model are developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulating the Evolution Mechanism of Inner Innovation in Large-Scale Construction Enterprise with an Improved NK Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114221 - 15 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The aim of this study is to simulate the self-organized evolution mechanism of inner innovation of large-scale construction enterprises (LSCE) under different contexts. Based on NK stochastic combinatorial optimization model with two parameters (N, K), this study proposes three modules—ambidexterity, punctuated equilibrium, and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to simulate the self-organized evolution mechanism of inner innovation of large-scale construction enterprises (LSCE) under different contexts. Based on NK stochastic combinatorial optimization model with two parameters (N, K), this study proposes three modules—ambidexterity, punctuated equilibrium, and automation—to simulate the change behaviors of the inner innovation system. Furthermore, this study analyses the influence of factor correlation on inner innovation performance under discusses nine different combination situations. The research results show that (a) regardless of how the relationship strength changes, fitness increases with an increasing K value; and (b) the comparison of optimization modes show that the punctuated equilibrium mode can guarantee the long- and short-term inner innovation performance LSCE. This study therefore reveals the mutual effects of the factors in the inner innovation system in LSCE and provides an effective model for internal systems analyses in the construction industry and in other sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Ways to Access Knowledge for Sustainability-Oriented Innovation. The Effect of Foreign Direct Investment
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114206 - 14 Nov 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI), which displays an intention to develop a product or service that contributes to economic, environmental, and social sustainability, has drawn growing institutional and academic attention, due to the general consideration that innovation is an essential part of achieving sustainability. For [...] Read more.
Sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI), which displays an intention to develop a product or service that contributes to economic, environmental, and social sustainability, has drawn growing institutional and academic attention, due to the general consideration that innovation is an essential part of achieving sustainability. For developments of this nature, it is considered that foreign direct investment (FDI) helps companies to meet the requirements demanded by SOI, however, they show different cooperation patterns, and so it is not known what path they must take to achieve it. In this context, this paper uses comparative analysis to try to shed light on the possible differences in the paths taken to achieve SOI by companies with and without FDI, taking into account their different form of knowledge management. To achieve this objective, it has been necessary to build new sustainability indicators (economic, environmental, and social) that allow the evaluation of the sustainability of these processes, considering the sustainability objectives that guided companies towards innovation. Using a logit model for 5897 Spanish companies during the period 2009–2014, this paper contributes both theoretically and empirically to emerging research into the opening of sustainable innovation. It provides a better understanding of the different channels for accessing knowledge for SOI, and examining these channels through absorptive capacity and cooperation, according to its age and size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Assessment of Taiwan’s Semiconductor Industry: A New Hybrid Model Using Combined Analytic Hierarchy Process and Two-Stage Additive Network Data Envelopment Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114070 - 06 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainable development has become the biggest concern of the semiconductor industry, which plays a vital role not only in technology breakthroughs, but also by serving as an enabler for sustainability. This study combines Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and additive network Data Envelopment Analysis [...] Read more.
Sustainable development has become the biggest concern of the semiconductor industry, which plays a vital role not only in technology breakthroughs, but also by serving as an enabler for sustainability. This study combines Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and additive network Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to measure the sustainable performance which are derived from business growth stage and energy utilization stage through the parametric linear program. Meanwhile, this method makes up the disadvantage of the weighting technique used additive decomposition approach to the two-stage network and avoids biasing toward the second stage. The findings demonstrate that Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing sector has exhibited a steady increase in its overall trend of sustainability performance. According to the stage-level performance results, the performance of business growth is better than energy utilization. However, the changing trend of overall sustainability performance is through a steady increase from environmental efficiency and not from economic efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Boundary-Spanning Search, Network Ties, and Absorptive Capacity for Innovation: A Moderated Mediation Examination
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3980; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113980 - 31 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Innovation is a key driver for organizations to survive and thrive in increasingly hyper-competitive markets. This study investigates the effects of boundary-spanning search on innovation capability. Specifically, it examines the mediating and moderating effects of network ties and absorptive capacity on boundary-spanning search [...] Read more.
Innovation is a key driver for organizations to survive and thrive in increasingly hyper-competitive markets. This study investigates the effects of boundary-spanning search on innovation capability. Specifically, it examines the mediating and moderating effects of network ties and absorptive capacity on boundary-spanning search and innovation in Chinese companies. We constructed a theoretical model of an organization’s boundary-spanning search and innovation capability and distributed a survey questionnaire to a sample of specific industries with upstream and downstream relations in Sichuan Province in China for their responses. Results from the study reveal that boundary-spanning search has a positive and significant impact on innovation capability as well as a positive moderating effect on absorptive capacity and innovation capability. This paper shows that enterprises need to continuously focus on exploring networking opportunities in direct and indirect ways to get access to effective flow and diffusion of resources, which in turn can enhance innovation capability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Motives of Stock Option Incentive Design, Ownership, and Inefficient Investment
by Wei Shan and Ran An
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3484; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103484 - 29 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper analyzes the effects of stock option incentives on inefficient investment. Specifically, based on the motive of design, we divide stock option incentives into incentive-driven and welfare-driven incentives. Our research is based on the panel data of 511 Chinese listed companies that [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the effects of stock option incentives on inefficient investment. Specifically, based on the motive of design, we divide stock option incentives into incentive-driven and welfare-driven incentives. Our research is based on the panel data of 511 Chinese listed companies that declared stock option incentives from 2010 to 2014, including both incentive-driven and welfare-driven incentives. Our research shows that different types of stock option incentives have different effects on inefficient investment. Generally, incentive-driven stock option incentives reduce inefficient investment, whereas welfare-driven stock option incentives do not reduce inefficient investment, but increase it. However, there is a weakening effect in state-owned enterprises due to two opposite factors, numerous restrictions and more self-interested managers. Additionally, the paper provides implications that some stock options are manipulated by managers in the designing stage in order to pursue self-interests, and therefore monitoring abnormal share price movement and performance hurdles is important to safeguard the wealth of shareholders and promote effective motivation for managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Framework of Growth Management for Identification of Service Innovation Levels and Priorities
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3319; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093319 - 17 Sep 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Growth management depends on an accurate understanding of an organizations’ current situation within the market in which it operates. Literature indicates that there is still inefficiency in quantitatively diagnosing the driving factors of service innovation and growth management. The purpose of this research [...] Read more.
Growth management depends on an accurate understanding of an organizations’ current situation within the market in which it operates. Literature indicates that there is still inefficiency in quantitatively diagnosing the driving factors of service innovation and growth management. The purpose of this research is to identify the levels and priorities of sustainable growth management strategies with detailed measurements for industrial service innovation. The research focuses on the construction industry as the case context to scrutinize and compare various indexes and policy platforms for the evaluation of service innovation and the development of a diagnostic framework. The paper further identified the developmental obstacles of service innovation from 585 survey responses from construction enterprise representatives from Shanghai, Beijing and Xi’an in China, using average score method and entropy weight method. The data analysis identified the service innovation level and development priorities for the enterprises can assist in determining sustainable service innovation paths. The research then combined the competitive advantage characteristics method using a cluster analysis to develop a growth management framework of service innovation in the construction industry. The research results indicated that the majority of analyzed enterprises were in the second phase of their development, with clear policy opportunities for increasing levels of service innovation. However, the results also indicate the majority of sample enterprises were not encouraging the efforts of employees to strive for innovation and were lacking appropriate investment funding towards service-related innovation. These two weaker aspects offer a starting point for firm-level managers to consider when aiming to improving service innovation. The paper contributes by advancing the quantitative evaluation of growth management policies for service innovation. Furthermore, it provides possible measures for improving service innovation with particular emphasis on service innovation in project-based construction enterprises. Finally, it offers a practical diagnostic tool to improve industry level growth via increased service innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Startups’ Roads to Failure
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2346; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072346 - 06 Jul 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
The role of a relatively small cadre of high-tech startup firms in driving innovation and economic growth has been well known and amply celebrated in recent history. At the same time, it is well recognized that, while the overall contribution of startups is [...] Read more.
The role of a relatively small cadre of high-tech startup firms in driving innovation and economic growth has been well known and amply celebrated in recent history. At the same time, it is well recognized that, while the overall contribution of startups is crucial, the high-risk and high-reward strategy followed by these startups leads to significant failure rates and a low ratio of successful startups. So, it is curious to notice that literature tends to focus on successful startups and on quantitative studies looking for determinants of success while neglecting the numerous lessons that can be drawn by examining the stories of startups that failed. This paper aims to fill this gap and to contribute to the literature by providing a repeatable and scalable methodology that can be applied to databases of unstructured post-mortem documents deriving startup failure patterns. A further and related contribution is the analysis carried out with this methodology to a large database of 214 startup post-mortem reports. Descriptive statistics show how the lack of a structured Business Development strategy emerges as a key determinant of startup failure in the majority of cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Firm Size and Sustainable Innovation Management)
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