Special Issue "Sustainable Business Models and Common Goods"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (13 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Marc Ventresca
Website
Guest Editor
University of Oxford, UK
Interests: innovation strategy, social innovation, entrepreneurship and innovation, institutional theory
Dr. Alessandro Zardini
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Italy
Interests: New business models; Business network; Smart city; commons; Robust action
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sustainable business model concept is extremely successful and highly common among practitioners, but a lack of consensus exists among scholars about how business models can evolve towards higher levels of sustainability. A business model can be defined as the system of the boundary-spanning interactions of the organization that are key to the organization's revenue flows. Under selective pressures due to economic, ecological, technological, relational and institutional phenomena, business models dynamically evolve through micro-adaptations and/or disruptive changes. The evolution towards circular economy models is a good example of such processes.

Which factors help firms become or remain capable of adapting their system of key interactions to the emerging sustainability transformations? The eco-socio-technical system’s sustainability-oriented resilience, that is, the system’s capability to resist crises and keep evolving towards economic, social and environmental sustainability, is probably going to be a key target for business model innovation studies.

A particular promising theoretical approach to sustainable business model innovation is provided by the literature on the commons and adaptive co-management. The concept of commons can be used to identify all those systems that provide a community with resources for collective use but are vulnerable to opportunistic behaviour (of over-exploitation and/or disengagement) on the part of that very community of users. Examples include a city’s public spaces, an industrial district’s reputation, and a natural area’s biodiversity. Specific topics include,

but are not limited to:

  • Managerial and organizational implications of circular economy transitions.
  • Sustainability transitions and business model innovations.
  • Business models for sustainable regional development.
  • Sustainable business model innovation and stakeholder theory.
  • Digital transformation and sustainable business model innovation.
  • Adaptive co-management and business model innovation.
  • Cultural heritage and sustainable business model innovation.

Prof. Marc Ventresca
Dr. Alessandro Zardini
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 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 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

  • Sustainable business model
  • common good
  • circular economy transition
  • robust action

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Cloud Services and Pricing Strategies for Sustainable Business Models: Analytical and Numerical Approaches
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010049 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Previous studies have introduced different potential pricing strategies for cloud services. However, not much research has been done comparing subscription pricing and pay-per-use pricing, which are commonly used pricing schemes. Also, there are very few studies which analyze a two-part tariff pricing scheme [...] Read more.
Previous studies have introduced different potential pricing strategies for cloud services. However, not much research has been done comparing subscription pricing and pay-per-use pricing, which are commonly used pricing schemes. Also, there are very few studies which analyze a two-part tariff pricing scheme for cloud services, even though this option may increasingly attract service providers as the cloud market becomes more competitive and the profit margin grows narrower. Previous research has focused on firms’ profitability rather than social welfare due to the limitations of free services. This study uses theoretical and numerical analysis to compare the social welfare and profitability of three pricing schemes commonly used by firms: subscription pricing, pay-per-use pricing, and two-part tariff pricing. It shows that the pay-per-use pricing is the best solution from the perspective of social welfare, which contrasts with the conclusion of a previous study stating that social welfare is maximized under a two-part tariff. This paper also shows that the two-part tariff is the most profitable pricing scheme for firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models and Common Goods)
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Open AccessArticle
Trust in Sharing Economy Business Models from the Perspective of Customers in Szczecin, Poland
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236838 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The concept of a sharing economy, as part of a wider collaborative economy concept, is among the most important economic and technological trends that will influence socioeconomic development in the future. Interest in using the opportunities offered by sharing platforms is increasing; hence, [...] Read more.
The concept of a sharing economy, as part of a wider collaborative economy concept, is among the most important economic and technological trends that will influence socioeconomic development in the future. Interest in using the opportunities offered by sharing platforms is increasing; hence, the subject is a current and important issue. Confidence in technology, service providers and application providers is a key issue when making decisions about using such solutions. The aim of the paper is to examine the level of trust in sharing economy business models considering two groups of factors, trust in people and in technology, among several demographic groups. The paper has an empirical character and the results are provided on the basis of a survey conducted in Szczecin, Poland, with 403 respondents who are current and potential users of sharing platforms. The obtained results show that platform management requires more attention focused on building mutual trust networks among participants rather than strengthening the confidence in using the technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models and Common Goods)
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Open AccessArticle
How Can Organisations and Business Models Lead to a More Sustainable Society? A Framework from a Systematic Review of the Industry 4.0
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6363; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226363 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
The concept of Industry 4.0 has been mainly addressed by the current literature from a technological perspective, overlooking the organisational and even ethical challenges related to this recent paradigm. In order to become ‘4.0 compliant’, an enterprise must adapt its organisation and business [...] Read more.
The concept of Industry 4.0 has been mainly addressed by the current literature from a technological perspective, overlooking the organisational and even ethical challenges related to this recent paradigm. In order to become ‘4.0 compliant’, an enterprise must adapt its organisation and business approaches, and these changes may lead to a significant impact on sustainability. Therefore, we performed a systematic literature review to investigate the most recent Industry 4.0 research streams by adopting a multi-perspective approach. This analysis led to collect insights on the key traits of an Enterprise 4.0: integration, decomposed hierarchy, flexibility, and autonomy. Each of these keywords involves work environments, business and organisational models, and educational approaches, which constitute the key traits of the novel framework proposed in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models and Common Goods)
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Open AccessArticle
Strategic Value of Agricultural Business Networks in Sustaining Common Goods
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5986; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215986 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article aims to highlight the positive relationship between the organizational form of the agricultural business network and common goods, thus seizing their strategic value for the company in terms of protection, development, and sustainable use. The common goods analyzed in this research [...] Read more.
This article aims to highlight the positive relationship between the organizational form of the agricultural business network and common goods, thus seizing their strategic value for the company in terms of protection, development, and sustainable use. The common goods analyzed in this research are of different origins: natural, such as the local environment and biodiversity, and artificial, such as cooperation and communication. To this end, a four-year longitudinal study was conducted to study the relationship between agricultural business networks and common goods. This study provides an in-depth analysis of the literature, which highlights the following as main themes: the sharing of values, the importance of trust and reputation, the central role of adaptive management, learning as participation, and environmental sustainability. The chosen case highlights how agricultural business networks can be considered both an effective tool in the protection and sustainable use of common goods and a tool that allows the development of the commons. Both these aspects have a strategic value for an organization that can derive significant benefits both from common goods developed and from the implemented organizational form and simultaneously protect the environment with strong positive externalities for itself and the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models and Common Goods)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Dynamic Performance Management: An Approach for Managing the Common Goods
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226435 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Public organizations need innovative approaches for managing common goods and to explain the dynamics linking the (re)generation of common goods and organizational performance. Although system dynamics is recognised as a useful approach for managing common goods, public organizations rarely adopt the system dynamics [...] Read more.
Public organizations need innovative approaches for managing common goods and to explain the dynamics linking the (re)generation of common goods and organizational performance. Although system dynamics is recognised as a useful approach for managing common goods, public organizations rarely adopt the system dynamics for this goal. The paper aims to review the literature on the system dynamics and its recent application, known as dynamic performance management, to highlight the state of the art and future opportunities on the management of common goods. The authors analyzed 144 documents using a systematic literature review. The results obtained outline a fair number of documents, countries and journals involving the study of system dynamics, but do not cover sufficient research on the linking between the (re)generation of common goods and organizational performance. This paper outlines academic and practical contributions. Firstly, it contributes to the theory of common goods. It provides insight for linking the management of common goods and organizational performance through the use of dynamic performance management approach. Furthermore, it shows scholars the main research opportunities. Secondly, it indicates to practitioners the documents providing useful ideas on the adoption of system dynamics for managing common goods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models and Common Goods)
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