Special Issue "Sustainable Business Models and Innovation in the Knowledge Economy/Business Revolution in the Digital Era- Selected Papers from the 13th and 14th International Conference on Business Excellence"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Herbert Casteran
Website
Guest Editor
Dean of EM Strasbourg Business School, 1 Avenue de la Forêt-Noire, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Interests: marketing and commercial policy; customer equity; customer lifetime value; finance; tourism management; datamining
Prof. Dr. Luis Fonseca
Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Industrial Management, Quality and Organizational Excellence, and Sustainability at ISEP, Porto School of Engineering. Rua António Bernardino de Almeida 431, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
Interests: quality and organizational excellence; business and industrial management; sustainability; social responsibility; system certification; electrical and mechanical engineering
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Karl Härdle
Website
Guest Editor
Full Professor of Statistics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, D 10099 Berlin, Germany
Interests: computational statistics; risk modeling; digital finance; digital economy and decision analytics
Prof. Dr. Alina Mihaela Dima
Website
Guest Editor
Head of the UNESCO Department for Business Administration, Faculty of Business Administration in foreign languages, The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Piata Romana Square, no.6, 1st District, Bucharest, Romania
Interests: international business and sustainable development; excellence models in higher education; innovation and competition leadership and turbulent society
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Sustainable Business Models and Innovation in the Knowledge Economy represent the theme of the International Conference on Business Excellence (ICBE), 13th edition, March 21–22, 2019. This offers the opportunity to contribute and publish research findings and perspectives related to the innovation in a turbulent business environment, led by the set of improvements and changes in the economic, societal, and technological structures and processes towards the effort of reaching sustainability goals.

This Special Issue will consist of selected papers from the 13th edition of the International Conference on Business Excellence (ICBE), March 21–22, 2019, Bucharest, Romania. The International Conference on Business Excellence is an annual, international, scientific event organized by the Faculty of Business Administration in foreign languages (UNESCO Department for Business Administration) and the Society for Business Excellence, and this will take place at The Bucharest University of Economic Studies.

The goal of this international conference is to reunite specialists from the triple-helix fields: University and research, consultancy and business, and policy making pursuant to optimizing business-added value by providing a stimulating environment for knowledge and knowhow business excellence transfers and alliance formation and by ensuring a better understanding of new challenges, opportunities, and threats generated by sustainability and innovation in general and particularly in fields like energy, social entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, digitization, and others.

Primarily, selected papers from the International Conference on Business Excellence (ICBE 2019) will be considered for publication. The papers submitted and selected for this Special Issue should neither have been previously published nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere and are subject to a very rigorous peer review process.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Casteran
Prof. Dr. Luis Fonseca
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Karl Härdle
Prof. Dr. Alina Mihaela Dima
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

  • Accounting for the future: How will corporate business models deliver sustainability
  • Branding from Emerging Countries: A Shifting Paradigm
  • Business digitization
  • Business internationalization and globalization
  • Business Law
  • Challenges and strategies in business education
  • Complexity in a turbulent economic environment
  • Data science in a digital society
  • Driving marketing performance through Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurial Focus
  • Energy, climate change and sustainability
  • Human resources: A game changer for the Business Strategy
  • Innovation and the knowledge economy
  • International Business Finances in a Globalized World
  • Knowledge Economy
  • New Challenges for Macroeconomic Modeling
  • Social entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development
  • Sustainability in the tertiary sector

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
“Mens Sana in Sound Corporations”: A Principled Reconciliation Between Profitability and Responsibility, With a Focus on Environmental Issues
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041589 - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a praised and promoted business behavior nowadays, widely understood as the entrepreneurs’ and managers’ attempts to make amends for some of the excesses that their economic activities bring about, for instance with regard to environmental negative externalities or [...] Read more.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a praised and promoted business behavior nowadays, widely understood as the entrepreneurs’ and managers’ attempts to make amends for some of the excesses that their economic activities bring about, for instance with regard to environmental negative externalities or to public ecological assets under-provision. It is of utmost importance to duly process and profess the CSR concept, one placed at a subtle interplay between business profitability and civic/social responsibility, between economic and ethical/legal realms, since the misrepresentation of economic agents’ benchmark of proper conduct might harm both social landscape and ecological environment. Still, despite its rich occurrence in scholarly literature as well as recurrence in business practices, CSR requires both further and thorough clarification, since many studies postulate that the free-market mindset is rather dismissive of CSR solicitudes. The current research paper fills such a sensitive conceptual gap by explaining why CSR regards are logically compatible with the free markets, with no reason to decree a market failure in this matter. The work takes the form of an analytical research, of an explicitly conceptual nature, based on praxeologically-deductive argumentation, documenting the fundamental compatibility of CSR with the free market order, populated by profit-driven capitalist corporations that, far from being reckless, are disciplined by the rule of law of clearly defined, defended, divestible property rights. As such, the plea adopted the methodological acquis of the Austrian School of law and economics. The main findings of the present study reveal that (a) in economic commonsense, the “profit motive” is the prima facia rule of judiciousness as the care for third-parties’ welfare can be ensured only after own well-being has been secured, while (b) ethically, “social responsibility”, as an extra-contractual duty, does build up on top of, not as trade-off with a robust property rights order. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Knowledge Sharing of Medical Practices—Reducing the Negative Socio-Economic Effects of Lead Exposure due to Unhealthy Consumption Habits
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1553; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041553 - 19 Feb 2020
Abstract
The emergence of knowledge economy has created the necessary conditions for an interdisciplinary approach of medical practices. This paper explores, in an interdisciplinary manner, the case of lead exposure in the Romanian context. We consider it crucial to be aware of the socio-economic [...] Read more.
The emergence of knowledge economy has created the necessary conditions for an interdisciplinary approach of medical practices. This paper explores, in an interdisciplinary manner, the case of lead exposure in the Romanian context. We consider it crucial to be aware of the socio-economic impact of lead exposure in Romania and prevent unhealthy consumption habits that generate economic and social costs. The purpose of the research is to evaluate the social, economic, and medical effects of lead poisoning, and, on this basis, to identify prevention recommendations. The research was conducted while using a descriptive survey based on qualitative and quantitative methods, by analyzing a group of 115 participants that were admitted in the Toxicology Department of the Clinical Emergency Hospital Bucharest with the diagnosis of lead exposure/intoxication. The study followed an Observational Retrospective Protocol that was based on the investigations of the participants registered in the Toxicology Department with signs and symptoms suggestive of lead exposure/intoxication. The data was statistically processed by while using Microsoft Excel 2013 and SPSS Statistics 22. Based on our research results, we facilitated the knowledge sharing process of medical practices and formulated a series of recommendations in an interdisciplinary manner, in order to diminish the negative socio-economic effects of unhealthy consumption habits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Paradigm Shift in Business Education: A Competence-Based Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041348 - 12 Feb 2020
Abstract
The fast and unpredictable changes in the business environment lead to significant changes in the future job market. For current business students, the future will offer many new opportunities for their employment but, at the same time, it will also create many threats [...] Read more.
The fast and unpredictable changes in the business environment lead to significant changes in the future job market. For current business students, the future will offer many new opportunities for their employment but, at the same time, it will also create many threats disguised in the disappearing jobs. Business education centered mainly on knowledge transmission is challenged to switch towards a competence-based approach which includes knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The present research focuses on the need to change the paradigm of business education by creating a new learning environment centered on business competencies, and on a new knowledge ecosystem dynamics. The approach uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. In the first phase the research is focused on a critical literature review, and extraction of ideas for the next phase based on quantitative methods. In order to evaluate the students’ perception on the need of competence-based business education, a questionnaire has been designed and applied to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in business and management programs. Data is processed by using SPSS and deriving six logistic regressions based on the conceptual model designed similar to a hierarchy Findings coming from students show a significant awareness for the need of paradigm shift in business education, from knowledge transfer to business competence development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Corruption and Shadow Economy on the Economic and Sustainable Development. Do They “Sand the Wheels” or “Grease the Wheels”?
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020481 - 08 Jan 2020
Abstract
Having in mind the main debate “grease the wheels” vs. “sand the wheels”, the main objective of this study is to find the way in which corruption and shadow economy influence economic and sustainable development. A large cross-country database of 185 countries is [...] Read more.
Having in mind the main debate “grease the wheels” vs. “sand the wheels”, the main objective of this study is to find the way in which corruption and shadow economy influence economic and sustainable development. A large cross-country database of 185 countries is used for the 2005–2015 time period. We find that corruption and shadow economy are poverty-driven diseases and they highly characterize low-income countries. Thus, the higher levels of corruption and shadow economy are correlated with low levels of economic and sustainable development. Then, the main contribution of this work consists of finding general and empirical evidence for the destructive role held by the corruption and shadow economy phenomena upon the economic and sustainable development of states. However, we also find some evidence that corruption can be also seen as a way to circumvent the law in order to achieve higher economic benefits and thereby to increase economic development. In addition, we find that economic and sustainable development in high-income countries is more strongly and negatively affected by the phenomena of corruption and shadow economy than in the case of low-income countries. Our research may have political implications for the government institutions that need to adopt the best-required policies, in order to boost economic and sustainable development. For low-income countries, we find some evidence for positive effects of corruption and shadow economy upon economic and sustainable development and the immediate practical implications are not to encourage but to effectively and strongly fight against these destructive phenomena and to find the proper channels to increase the institutional quality and to adopt the appropriate regulatory policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Key Drivers and Skills Needed for Innovative Companies Focused on Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010102 - 21 Dec 2019
Abstract
Sustainable innovation at a company level drives economic, environmental and social improvement at a national level. Recent evidence has shown that businesses have increased the managerial attention and investments dedicated to sustainability. This paper aims to identify the most important drivers supporting companies [...] Read more.
Sustainable innovation at a company level drives economic, environmental and social improvement at a national level. Recent evidence has shown that businesses have increased the managerial attention and investments dedicated to sustainability. This paper aims to identify the most important drivers supporting companies to develop innovation activities oriented towards making the business models more sustainable. We explore microdata from the 2016 Innobarometer “EU Business Innovation Trends” (Flash Eurobarometer 433), covering 8635 companies from 29 countries. Using statistical classification methods, we identify the most important factors that are related to innovation activities that have the potential to shape the efficiency of raw material usage and environmental protection. The most relevant factors emphasized by our analysis are: innovation performance of the country (innovation), percentage of the company turnover invested in innovation activities, percentage of total turnover invested in acquisition of machines, equipment, software or licenses, percentage of total turnover invested in company reputation and branding, including web design, percentage of total turnover invested in software development.. Also, our analysis highlights the skills that are needed the most by companies in order to support their innovation activities targeting sustainability. Our results are useful for better understanding the attention that is given to sustainability by innovative companies, and what the main factors that boost innovation dedicated to sustainability are. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pathologies and Paradoxes of Co-Creation: A Contribution to the Discussion about Corporate Social Responsibility in Building a Competitive Advantage in the Age of Industry 4.0
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4954; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184954 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research problem: Revolution Industry 4.0. forces companies to face specific competence-related, technological, organizational and even ethical challenges. The use of innovative “tools” associated with that revolution not only brings new technological challenges, opportunities to build new competitive advantages, new areas of activity, and [...] Read more.
Research problem: Revolution Industry 4.0. forces companies to face specific competence-related, technological, organizational and even ethical challenges. The use of innovative “tools” associated with that revolution not only brings new technological challenges, opportunities to build new competitive advantages, new areas of activity, and new types of business benefits but also doubts, questions, or even pathologies and paradoxes. Sometimes, entities that do not fully understand the essence of the new concepts, methods, or techniques use them incorrectly or abuse them for private goals and expose themselves to criticism—sometimes even social condemnation. These are examples of the lack of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of these organizations. This situation also has reached co-creation. In theory, it is a very positive concept, aimed at building competitiveness, or various types of competitive advantages of companies by creating value for clients with their participation. In economic practice, unfortunately, it is not always successful. Purpose: The main purpose of this paper is to identify and characterize the key paradoxes and areas of potential pathologies of creating competitive advantage based on co-creation without CSR in the case of companies operating in the age of Industry 4.0. Originality/value of the paper: A theoretical study based on the extensive literature review describing paradoxes, ethical and CSR problems of co-creation in organizations creating competitive advantage in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a qualitative methodology of research. This study attempts to systematize paradoxes of co-creation and the areas and industries in which the related pathologies of co-creation occur particularly often and distinctively in economic practice. The empirical studies were conducted as a review of case studies of companies that use the concept of co-creation in an irregular way (paradoxical or with pathologies). This study identified and characterized the key 31 paradoxes and pathologies of creating competitive advantage based on co-creation in the case of 14 companies operating in the age of Industry 4.0. Implications: The identification of main dilemmas, paradoxes and pathologies of co-creation; signaling the role of governance and CSR in processes of the valuable use of co-creation in the age of Industry 4.0. Based on the observations described in the paper, it is worth recommending that when becoming involved in co-creation, one should observe ethical standards and assumptions of CSR, and require the same from partners and other parties involved. Otherwise, the risk is that instead of co-creation, the result achieved will be exactly the opposite to that intended, which is co-destruction, and condemnation instead of glory. This is why it is worth considering the paradoxes that are key to co-creation and approaching solutions in a conscious way. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“Social Trilemma”: Empirical Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4638; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174638 - 26 Aug 2019
Abstract
This paper’s aim is to analyze the challenges that may arise to the harmonious and inclusive economic development of EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe in the larger context of the European Common Market and the free movement of capital. The [...] Read more.
This paper’s aim is to analyze the challenges that may arise to the harmonious and inclusive economic development of EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe in the larger context of the European Common Market and the free movement of capital. The theoretical framework on which this paper is based is represented by the thesis of “structural dependence on international capital” and “race to the bottom” competition to attract foreign investment and increase the convergence speed in the catching-up process. We have also tackled the consequences arising from the social cohesion perspective, pointing out that a country cannot have at the same time (1) a high degree of social equity; (2) free movement of capital, amid structural consequences that manifest themselves as a result of this freedom; and, (3) a robust position of foreign companies as a share of value added. Full article
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