Special Issue "Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kot
Website
Guest Editor
The Management Faculty, Czestochowa University of Technology, Poland
Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University (NWU), South Africa
Interests: sustainable development; supply chain; CSR
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Beata Ślusarczyk
Website
Guest Editor
The Management Faculty, Czestochowa University of Technology, Poland Faculty of Economic Sciences and IT, North-West University (NWU), South Africa
Interests: industrial policy; globalization; innovation and entrepreneurship
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The issue of sustainable business is very complicated, because it refers to the economy, natural environment, society and its values, as well as enterprise relations with the external environment, which, in some part, occurs using modern technologies.
Sustainable business should be based on the transparency of relationships and dialogue between stakeholders, among which one can distinguish: Employers, employees, government or social organizations. In this sense, the issue of sustainable business goes far beyond the scope of traditionally understood labor relations, including also the interests of consumers, local communities or the natural environment.

The editors propose that the assumptions regarding the Special Issue should reflect two important challenges that sustainable business is facing now: First, the global social movement directing demands for business and the second: the catalog of modern technologies and management tools that allow the company to respond to growing social and business expectations. Because this subject is often considered in the context of large corporations, it is suggested that the analyzes should concern small and medium-sized enterprises mainly.

In this context, the purpose of the Special Issue is to provide knowledge about available tools and practices of sustainable business in order to effectively respond to social and technological development challenges

Prof. Sebastian Kot
Prof. Beata Ślusarczyk
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
  • social challenges
  • CSR
  • industry 4.0
  • new technologies
  • small medium enterprises.

Published Papers (40 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
New Production Route of Magnesium Hydroxide and Related Environmental Impact
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8822; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218822 (registering DOI) - 23 Oct 2020
Abstract
The paper presents research on a method of obtaining magnesium hydroxide from magnesium sulphate salts and NaOH. In order to acquire the desired and controlled properties, the method of precipitating in aqueous solutions by introducing a NaOH solution into a solution of MgSO [...] Read more.
The paper presents research on a method of obtaining magnesium hydroxide from magnesium sulphate salts and NaOH. In order to acquire the desired and controlled properties, the method of precipitating in aqueous solutions by introducing a NaOH solution into a solution of MgSO4 has been applied. To get as stable a product as possible with graining, the introduction of NaOH takes place at a constant flow rate. In order to identify the environmental impact of the developed process, a life cycle assessment (LCA) has been made. The use of the proposed method for the synthesis of Mg(OH)2 incorporating washing with 25% ammonia solution and acetone enabled a product with a high specific surface area. The Mg(OH)2 obtained was characterised by a higher specific surface area than commercially available magnesium hydroxides that are used as additives for flame retardants in polymeric materials. This allows the material to be used as an anti-pyrogen for a wider group of polymeric materials. For the LCA analysis, two scenarios were assumed, from which the basic one included recovery of ammonia and acetone. The environmental analysis carried out confirmed the validity of this assumption, as it was stated that the main part of the impact was connected with the supply chain for the process examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Role of Digital Influencers and Their Impact on the Functioning of the Contemporary On-Line Promotional System and Its Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177138 - 01 Sep 2020
Abstract
Along with the increasingly high level of digital media consumption, organizations’ expenditure on online promotional activities is constantly and dynamically growing. At the same time, together with the growing expenditures on digital promotion, it can be clearly seen that the effectiveness of activities [...] Read more.
Along with the increasingly high level of digital media consumption, organizations’ expenditure on online promotional activities is constantly and dynamically growing. At the same time, together with the growing expenditures on digital promotion, it can be clearly seen that the effectiveness of activities carried out in the electronic space in its current form is decreasing. Therefore, in the new market situation, when the promotion of products and services has never been so difficult, organizations have started to look for other methods of influencing consumers. One of the most important trends is the use of the influencer marketing concept. In this context, the aim of this article is to analyze the role, place and significance of digital influencers in the overall functioning of the online promotional system, and the impact of the influencer marketing concept on its sustainable development. In order to implement it, a literature analysis was carried out on the origins of this phenomenon, and its scale, causes and impact on the functioning of the digital promotion system. After the completion of this stage of the research, a questionnaire survey was conducted on a group of individual Internet users in order to obtain primary data. The results of the research indicate that there is a great potential for activities involving digital influencers. This potential relates primarily to the effective transmission of information about a product or service, the impact on increased brand awareness, and the impact on the sales level of products and services offered by companies. The study also identified the most important threats that may affect the future development of the concept of influencer marketing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation of Pro-Environmental Behaviour and Sustainable Development in Malaysia
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7083; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177083 - 31 Aug 2020
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the role of environmental commitment, environmental consciousness, green lifestyle, and green self-efficacy in influencing pro-environmental behaviour. Data were obtained through a survey of 72 students at one of the training centers in Malaysia. The hypothesized relationships were tested [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the role of environmental commitment, environmental consciousness, green lifestyle, and green self-efficacy in influencing pro-environmental behaviour. Data were obtained through a survey of 72 students at one of the training centers in Malaysia. The hypothesized relationships were tested using partial least squares (PLS) methodology. Results showed that environmental commitment, environmental consciousness, green lifestyle, and green self-efficacy positively influenced pro-environmental behaviour, thereby providing new insights to existing literature on environmental sustainability. The results may be used by educational institutions, the government, and private agencies to strengthen students’ knowledge, attitude, and behaviour that support environment-based education. The scope of the study was limited to students at a training center, so the results may not be generalizable to different settings. Another limitation was that the study used limited contextual elements. The novelty of this study is that it examined the role of environmental commitment, environmental consciousness, green lifestyle, and green self-efficacy as determinants of pro-environmental behaviour among students in an educational setting in Malaysia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Green Technology and Sustainable Development: Assessment and Green Growth Frameworks
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6571; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166571 - 13 Aug 2020
Abstract
The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of a sustainable development assessment methodology being designed in the context of green technology. The methodology in question is based on indicators from the Sustainable Development Goals Index (SGDI), specifically in its ecological [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of a sustainable development assessment methodology being designed in the context of green technology. The methodology in question is based on indicators from the Sustainable Development Goals Index (SGDI), specifically in its ecological component. These indicators underlie an Averaging Sustainable Development Index (ASDI) and a Normalized Sustainable Development Index (NSDI). The resultant methodology was applied to 20 countries from the SDGI ranking. According to the research results, the intensive activity of the brown industries in the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, the United States, Korea, and Russia resulted in significant carbon dioxide emissions. Switzerland, Kazakhstan, and Russia had high scores on sustainable management of water and sanitation. Russia was the only developed country to have an ASDI higher than its SDGI and its gap between NSDI and ASDI indexes was not significant, indicating a positive trend in greentech development. The reason why NSDI was increasingly different from SDGI was that countries leading the socio-economic rankings had higher consumption of energy and resources, and a much greater environmental footprint than those countries that consumed less. The originality of this study is that it identifies gaps between NSDI and ASDI values, which indicate that conditions for greentech adoption in most developing countries are unfavorable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Utilizing Bots for Sustainable News Business: Understanding Users’ Perspectives of News Bots in the Age of Social Media
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6515; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166515 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The move of news audiences to social media has presented a major challenge for news organizations. How to adapt and adjust to this social media environment is an important issue for sustainable news business. News bots are one of the key technologies offered [...] Read more.
The move of news audiences to social media has presented a major challenge for news organizations. How to adapt and adjust to this social media environment is an important issue for sustainable news business. News bots are one of the key technologies offered in the current media environment and are widely applied in news production, dissemination, and interaction with audiences. While benefits and concerns coexist about the application of bots in news organizations, the current study aimed to examine how social media users perceive news bots, the factors that affect their acceptance of bots in news organizations, and how this is related to their evaluation of social media news in general. An analysis of the US national survey dataset showed that self-efficacy (confidence in identifying content from a bot) was a successful predictor of news bot acceptance, which in turn resulted in a positive evaluation of social media news in general. In addition, an individual’s perceived prevalence of social media news from bots had an indirect effect on acceptance by increasing self-efficacy. The results are discussed with the aim of providing a better understanding of news audiences in the social media environment, and practical implications for the sustainable news business are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Challenges of the Sharing Economy for SMEs: A Literature Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6504; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166504 - 12 Aug 2020
Abstract
The sharing economy is becoming increasingly popular in many sectors also thanks to the fact that not only young generation, but people of almost all ages are digitally literate, and therefore they readily participate in sharing economy practices. A very important part of [...] Read more.
The sharing economy is becoming increasingly popular in many sectors also thanks to the fact that not only young generation, but people of almost all ages are digitally literate, and therefore they readily participate in sharing economy practices. A very important part of their motivation comes from the knowledge that it is a great way to save money, but a no less important reason is the philosophical aspect, which is consistent with efforts to promote more sustainable consumption practices that prioritize access over ownership. The sharing economy has become a subject of interest not only among researchers and practitioners but also among policymakers and stakeholders who are concerned about the further extension of digital ecosystems. Fortunately, theorists from many fields, such as the commercial economy, gift economy, entrepreneurship, digital transformation, etc., pay due attention to this phenomenon. However, there is still room for focused exploration of this entrepreneurial and innovative approach from specific views in order to bring useful findings and insights on given issues. The intention of this study is to analyze the existing related literature and categorize sharing economy-based business models in relation to traditional business models. Potentially, this study can also contribute to a better understanding of the perspectives of the sharing economy in the transition of SMEs towards the Industry 4.0 paradigm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Applied Model of E-Learning in the Framework of Education for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166420 - 10 Aug 2020
Abstract
Education for sustainable development is an evolving concept aimed at providing an understanding of the relationship between sustainable development issues and the development of knowledge, skills, perspectives and values, which will enable people of all ages to commit themselves to creating a sustainable [...] Read more.
Education for sustainable development is an evolving concept aimed at providing an understanding of the relationship between sustainable development issues and the development of knowledge, skills, perspectives and values, which will enable people of all ages to commit themselves to creating a sustainable future. The aim of the study is the development of a widely applicable model of e-learning, which consists of seven consecutive levels of professional and personal development and is conceptually associated with a self-regulation strategy. The methodological core of such model creation is the theory of niche construction. Its application to the understanding of the systemic educational process allowed the assumption that, under the evolutionary pressure of the educational environment, a person is engaged in self-learning and self-development processes. Thus, needing to adapt to the educational niche’s interaction, the individual affects its development through active inclusion in the training process, showing a personal evolutionary impulse. The system, in turn, affects one’s individual growth through the socialization of his/her personal and professional qualities. The scientific novelty of this article lies in the proposed widely applicable, presumably universal model of distance education, which consists of seven levels of professional development. The results show progress in students’ mastery of skills, which are an integral part of education for sustainable development (ESD), namely, foresight, critical thinking and reflection, systemic thinking, building partnerships, and participating in decision-making. This article also demonstrates the existing functionality of platforms that technologically support the educational process, indicates their strengths and defines areas for further improvement and development within the framework regarding the concept of education for sustainable development. The study outcomes confirm the effectiveness of a universal distance education model for the stable professional growth of tourism and hospitality staff. Thus, it is advisable to implement the model’s conceptual structure into educational programs of modern e-learning systems. Supposed universality of the model opens up the possibility of its use in almost all fields for training personnel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Management of Organic Food Organizations: A Case Study of Azerbaijan
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5057; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125057 - 21 Jun 2020
Abstract
Potentially, sustainable development can lead to the global alignment of goals and values, such as social justice and environmental balance. This study examines the supplier sustainability management programs that exist in the food industry and combine economic, environmental, and social priorities using sustainability [...] Read more.
Potentially, sustainable development can lead to the global alignment of goals and values, such as social justice and environmental balance. This study examines the supplier sustainability management programs that exist in the food industry and combine economic, environmental, and social priorities using sustainability theory. The study aims to identify sustainability priorities and develops recommendations for Azerbaijani agrifood policy in order to ensure the dynamic sustainable development of the national food industry and economy. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model and the priority theory enabled the identification of global priorities in relation to Ganja Agribusiness Association (GABA). These priorities include climatic conditions issues, certification standards and labels, possibility of acquiring land in private ownership, price of land, and qualification characteristics of the workforce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of the Entrepreneurship Promotion Programs and the Social Networks on the Sustainability Entrepreneurial Motivation of Engineering Students
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4935; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124935 - 17 Jun 2020
Abstract
This paper presents the results of three academic courses in which Entrepreneurship Promotion Programs (EPP) have been developed for engineering students at the University of Jaén. This study describes the activities and how they have been promoted using the social networks Facebook and [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of three academic courses in which Entrepreneurship Promotion Programs (EPP) have been developed for engineering students at the University of Jaén. This study describes the activities and how they have been promoted using the social networks Facebook and Twitter. Grytics for Analytics software was used for monitoring Facebook activity. The use of these tools has also allowed the collaborative development of the Engineering degree competencies related to sustainability and entrepreneurship through the Materials Science disciplines. The study is based on questionnaires before and after the EPP which involved a sample of 459 engineering students. The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin test, Kolmogorov–Smirnov test and Pearson’s correlation were used. The questionnaires show which factors have the strongest influence on the intention to undertake entrepreneurial activity. Motivation (MO), personal requirements (PR), perception of the environment (PE) and the background requirements (BR) were the factors considered. The statistical study shows that PE and PR have a strong influence on MO. Finally, through the study before and after the EPP, the success of the activities and the use of social networks have been demonstrated. The results indicate that the activities of the EPP influence the perception of the environment and the motivation of the engineering students. However, the personal requirements are not affected by the activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable B2B E-Commerce and Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Finance
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 3968; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12103968 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Information technology advancements integrated with the e-commerce supply chain allow participants in the business process to effectively work with large volumes of data and control transactions. To improve the profitability and competitiveness of e-commerce companies, a blockchain solution was incorporated into the global [...] Read more.
Information technology advancements integrated with the e-commerce supply chain allow participants in the business process to effectively work with large volumes of data and control transactions. To improve the profitability and competitiveness of e-commerce companies, a blockchain solution was incorporated into the global B2B (Business-to-Business) supply chain. This technology simplified the transaction process by providing all participants in the sustainable B2B buying process with the same data about the trade. Overall, the use of blockchain improved the efficiency of logistics and digital documentation which reached 74% and 75%, respectively. The main advantage of using blockchain is that it creates a decentralized database that is secure. In addition, it increases the speed of payment and the reliability and transparency of data transfer. Further research may focus on the use of blockchain in green logistics to improve environmental sustainability in the e-commerce supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Non-Financial Information on Sustainable Reporting of Organisations’ Performance: Case Study on the Companies Listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2179; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062179 - 11 Mar 2020
Abstract
The influences resulted from the strategy of sustainable development of a country represents a challenge for both the research and all those interested. This paper researches how the non-financial information is relevant in reflecting the sustainability of Romanian economic entities’ performances. In this [...] Read more.
The influences resulted from the strategy of sustainable development of a country represents a challenge for both the research and all those interested. This paper researches how the non-financial information is relevant in reflecting the sustainability of Romanian economic entities’ performances. In this context, reference is made to the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) and to the extent that the economic entities listed at the stock exchange draft sustainable reports in compliance with the international reporting requirements. The hypotheses formulated are related to the specific characteristics of the economic entities listed on the BVB. The research was done on a sample consisting of all economic entities contained by the International Reporting System of Issuers (IRIS) platform of the BVB, the sustainable reporting was analysed through the Pearson correlation coefficient and the ANOVA test. Following the research, results were obtained that made it possible to validate/invalidate the hypotheses. One of the specific characteristics that has been noted refers to the size of the economic entity; this has been shown to influence the extent to which the sustainable report drafted complies with the requirements of the international reporting frame. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Are You Environmentally Conscious Enough to Differentiate between Greenwashed and Sustainable Items? A Global Consumers Perspective
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1786; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051786 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Environmentally sustainable (green) products are frequently advertised to consumers, yet it is debatable whether the consumers are aware whether these green labelled products are environmentally friendly or not. Greenwashing is a phenomenon used by companies to sell their products. Through stratified (probability) and [...] Read more.
Environmentally sustainable (green) products are frequently advertised to consumers, yet it is debatable whether the consumers are aware whether these green labelled products are environmentally friendly or not. Greenwashing is a phenomenon used by companies to sell their products. Through stratified (probability) and purposive and convenience (non-probability) sampling techniques, an online survey was circulated to gather information from 768 participants from the UK, Canada, and Pakistan to determine consumers’ perspectives on subjects including awareness, trust, and effectiveness regarding greenwashed labelled products. The results were tested using the Chi-Square test for ranked data and structural equation modelling (SEM) for ordinal data. The study found that participants ranking themselves High environmentalists in comparison to Low and Moderate environmentalists, despite being skeptical, fall into the trap of identifying greenwashed products as sustainable. It has been proven that greenwashing negatively impacts the green purchasing behavior of the consumers. Participants reported that products are believed to be sustainable due to the overall perception of the product labelled as greenwashed. There is statistical evidence that purchase intent is not affected by greenwashing. It is also reported that younger people in comparison to older people have less trust and often believe greenwashing is problematic. Consumers were found to be vulnerable and more sensitive when their attention was drawn towards greenwashing. There is a need to educate consumers and improve policies to ensure consumers understand the real labels as greenwashed products are used in daily life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of the Value Chain in the Process of Generating a Sustainable Business Strategy on the Example of Manufacturing and Industrial Enterprises in the Czech Republic
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1520; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041520 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper presents a method of generating a business strategy using value chain analysis. There were 186 manufacturing and industrial enterprises from the Czech Republic. The analysis was carried out using mathematical–statistical methods (dimensional reduction, logit regression and its transformation in order to [...] Read more.
This paper presents a method of generating a business strategy using value chain analysis. There were 186 manufacturing and industrial enterprises from the Czech Republic. The analysis was carried out using mathematical–statistical methods (dimensional reduction, logit regression and its transformation in order to objectify the opinion level of the managers) and with a neural network in terms of validation of the results of the mathematical–statistical methods. The aim was to determine the significance of different parts of the value chain in terms of their impact on the profitability of an enterprise and to demonstrate its important role in the process of generating business strategy. The significance for the profitability of the enterprises was statistically proven in the area of scientific and technological development, input logistics and human resource management. These parts were identified by the authors as the golden triangle of manufacturing and industry. Purchasing and output logistics were identified as the parts with a negative impact to the profitability of the enterprises. Strong underestimation of scientific and technological development by the top managers of the manufacturing and industrial enterprises is seen as a very negative finding. Neural networks showed higher statistical sensitivity compared to the mathematical–statistical methods (dimensional reduction and logit regression). They defined the value sector chain with the following structure (ranked from the highest degree of positive impact on the profitability of the enterprise): human resource management, scientific and technological development, production, input logistics, purchasing, material management, output logistics, enterprise infrastructure, marketing and sales, service and other supporting services. In conclusion, it is stated that the sector value chain of manufacturing and industrial enterprises will be further decomposed into value chain models of specific industries of the production and industry, such as engineering and construction, intended for direct use in different business entities to generate their unique value chains and corporate strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
Open AccessArticle
Modeling Green Energy Development Based on Sustainable Economic Growth in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1368; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041368 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Industrial development of the economic system of any state is directly related to the use of energy potential. China’s industrial breakthrough is no exception. Today, China is one of the largest importers–consumers of oil, whose economy is extremely dependent on the energy market. [...] Read more.
Industrial development of the economic system of any state is directly related to the use of energy potential. China’s industrial breakthrough is no exception. Today, China is one of the largest importers–consumers of oil, whose economy is extremely dependent on the energy market. The growing production and population, as well as climatic changes that directly determine the well-being of society, have become the causal basis for the development of alternative ways of generating energy. The aim of the study is to model the implementation of the sustainable development strategy in China through the production and use of biofuels. The simulation is made taking into account the following. The production capacities of Chinese licensed producers of fuel ethanol are calculated. The efficiency of bioethanol production from various types of biological raw materials is evaluated. An economic and mathematical model of bioethanol production is built. The article forecasts the profitability of bioethanol sales from various types of biological raw materials (sugar sorghum, corn) in Chinese and European markets. The study comprehensively reveals the features of the use of biofuels in an industrial country, taking into account geopolitical factors, social and market contexts, as well as technical analysis of the raw materials and production potential of Chinese companies. The article also interprets the economic processes associated with the introduction of biofuels in the ecological and economic systems of China. The article demonstrates other concepts regarding the consequences of the energy sector’s transition to the principles of energy production from biomass. The article shows the contradictory nature of the impact of biofuel production on the food market and the agricultural sector. The article analyzes possible social, resource and macroeconomic risks, and also indicates possible vectors for further research that might be aimed at diversifying the associated negative processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Affecting the Use of Balanced Scorecard in Measuring Company Performance
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031178 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The paper presents the results from the research on the factors influencing the use of the Balanced Scorecard methodology in measuring company performance in the engineering sector. The primary objective of the research was to verify the importance of using non-financial factors in [...] Read more.
The paper presents the results from the research on the factors influencing the use of the Balanced Scorecard methodology in measuring company performance in the engineering sector. The primary objective of the research was to verify the importance of using non-financial factors in managing businesses in connection to the use of the Balanced Scorecard methodology and to verify the dependence between the use of the given methodology and the lack of human and financial resources for its usage. The research focusing on the given issue was conducted over a period of six months. The research was based on the hypotheses that were verified with statistical methods using the methodology of a Chi-square test. To identify the factors that hinder the usage of the Balanced Scorecard methodology in the addressed enterprises, the method of standard deviation was used. The main result of the research is a finding that there is a statistically significant relationship between the enterprises considering the non-financial indicators and the use of the Balanced Scorecard methodology to be important. This relationship is confirmed also by the calculation using a test with p = 0.0422. The research verified one of the main research goals, i.e., the importance of non-financial indicators in connection to the Balanced Scorecard concept (BSC). Other hypotheses are related to the issue of the lack of human and financial resources. Using the Chi-square test in these cases once again, the study also found out the existence of the dependence between the lack of these resources and the use of the Balanced Scorecard methodology. The final value p = 0.0446 relating to human resources and the value p = 0.0377 relating to financial sources define the barriers as being important in implementing the BSC methodology into corporate practice. These values confirm other research results related to the barriers of using BSC. The presented paper assesses the research results that confirm the importance of using non-financial indicators and define the barriers that hinder this usage. The research contributed to the extension of the knowledge of the BSC concept that we consider being a modern managerial future-oriented tool and supported its implementation in companies so that they could operate within the framework of sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Enablers of Entrepreneurial Activity across the European Union—An Analysis Using GEM Individual Data
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031022 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The objective of this study involves identifying the influence of different perceptual attributes on the likelihood of engaging in early-stage entrepreneurial activities (TEA). The study correspondingly applies individual data based on the statistics gathered from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Adult Population Survey database [...] Read more.
The objective of this study involves identifying the influence of different perceptual attributes on the likelihood of engaging in early-stage entrepreneurial activities (TEA). The study correspondingly applies individual data based on the statistics gathered from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Adult Population Survey database for 18 European Countries in 2007 and 2014. We performed several logistic regression analyses in order to test the influence of some entrepreneurial attributes on the propensity to engage in TEA. We identified four perceptual determinants: Capability to identify opportunity; having the skills, knowledge and experience to start up a business; fear of failure; and knowing other entrepreneurs. We tested their effect along with some control variables and interaction effects. The results confirm the importance of these factors in explaining entrepreneurial activities across different economies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Tax System of the Russian Federation: Current State and Steps towards Financial Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6994; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246994 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Achieving financial sustainability is the most important strategic task of the state in a turbulent global economic environment. The purpose of this study was to identify the patterns of development and peculiarities of the tax situation in Russia. The authors determined the most [...] Read more.
Achieving financial sustainability is the most important strategic task of the state in a turbulent global economic environment. The purpose of this study was to identify the patterns of development and peculiarities of the tax situation in Russia. The authors determined the most effective approaches for the formation of the tax system that would ensure the financial sustainability of the state in conditions of economic transition. This study examined the existing features and patterns of the formation of the Russian tax system. The ways and instruments to achieve financial stability were considered. As an example, it was decided to take into account the international practices of the most successful states in terms of tax (according to the Doing Business methodology)—namely, the USA, Ireland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Sweden and Norway. A list of conditions is proposed, the implementation of which might ensure the transformation of the Russian financial system in terms of sustainability. This article also demonstrates changes in the economic infrastructure of the Russian Federation and indicates possible scenarios for the development of the tax system. This study determines that the tax system is largely shaped by the information environment. Therefore, digitalization processes can serve as a catalyst for the achievement of financial sustainability by the state. The choice of tools for the internal reform of public finances is situational. However, strategic transformation (in terms of macro-level sustainability) can be achieved by performing a number of universal steps. The implementation of the latter creates not only a positive effect from the introduction of new approaches, but primarily minimizes the impact of existing negative phenomena and trends. The tax system of the Russian Federation can be optimized by consolidating sustainable development indicators in the legal acts. The latter is an important step towards achieving financial sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development for Creating Value for FMCG Sector Enterprises
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5808; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205808 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In recent years, attention has been increasingly paid to social-, environmental-, and ecology-related issues in the areas of diverse business operations. The concept of sustainable development of enterprises is an attempt to integrate a diverse set of requirements for the development of companies [...] Read more.
In recent years, attention has been increasingly paid to social-, environmental-, and ecology-related issues in the areas of diverse business operations. The concept of sustainable development of enterprises is an attempt to integrate a diverse set of requirements for the development of companies in the long-term future. The concept, which is set in a contradictory context of economic, social, and environmental aspects, is an attempt to balance fundamentally divergent requirements and aspirations. Sustainable enterprise development can be a source of competitiveness, provided the opportunities related to it are identified and implemented in a proper way. The research objective of this study is to diagnose the relationship between the company’s orientation towards the implementation of sustainability assumptions, the degree of implementation of the objectives of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, as well as the creation of value in a sustainable enterprise. The survey was conducted on a sample of 165 FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector enterprises. The results indicate the existence of a positive correlation between the variables analysed in the surveyed enterprises. Entrepreneurs guided by sustainable development pursue economic and non-economic values and have a more comprehensive set of appropriate measures necessary to create value in a sustainable enterprise, which consists of achieving economic, ecological, and social goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
How to Make E-Commerce More Successful by Use of Kano’s Model to Assess Customer Satisfaction in Terms of Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4830; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184830 - 04 Sep 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Personalization, mobility, deliveries on the same day, and perhaps artificial intelligence—all of these elements will shape e-commerce in the near future. It is necessary to consider what features and standards online shops will have to meet in order to achieve success and to [...] Read more.
Personalization, mobility, deliveries on the same day, and perhaps artificial intelligence—all of these elements will shape e-commerce in the near future. It is necessary to consider what features and standards online shops will have to meet in order to achieve success and to adapt to the changing preferences and requirements of the customer and their awareness of the perception of the environment through the prism of, for example, sustainable development. This means there is a need to specify a set of attributes that will influence the decision to use the services of a given e-shop. Despite all efforts, many online shops fail because they do not meet the expectations of customers. At the same time, meeting customer expectations is a big challenge for newly emerging e-shops. There are many studies on sustainable development in e-commerce, but there is no specific methodology for e-shop design, especially in the aspect of sustainable development. The authors propose a methodology based on Kano’s model and customer satisfaction to explore customers’ stated needs and unstated desires and to divided them into different groups with different impacts on customer satisfaction. In this paper, a case study on the attributes of customer satisfaction for a newly opened e-shop with organic products, which is to operate in the countries of Central Europe and takes into account selected assumptions of sustainable development, was presented. The research took the form of an original (authorial), universal survey that can be used in other similar research. A total of 1069 correctly completed surveys were taken into account for the analysis. Respondents indicated 16 must-have features for the e-shop in order to make customers benefit from its services and 11 one-dimensional features that will determine the level of customer satisfaction. Among the must-have features, there were those related to sustainable development, which indicates the environmental awareness of potential customers. The obtained results were given to the management of the research e-shop and were included during the design of its operation. After one to two years of e-shop operation, the results will be verified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability and Digitalization of Corporate Management Based on Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools Usage: China and Other World IT Companies’ Experience
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4717; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174717 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The article is tasked with studying the modern possibilities and effectiveness of the application of virtual and augmented reality technologies in the field of managing human recourses (HRs) and basic operational corporate business processes. Using examples of successful use of AR (augmented reality)/VR [...] Read more.
The article is tasked with studying the modern possibilities and effectiveness of the application of virtual and augmented reality technologies in the field of managing human recourses (HRs) and basic operational corporate business processes. Using examples of successful use of AR (augmented reality)/VR (virtual reality) in the labor market by the largest companies in the USA, China, and Europe, the most relevant areas and forms of using these technologies in the work of HR specialists were considered. The study examined issues related to improving the performance of the main modern vectors of corporate development in the field of operational technological improvements, and, as the main result, a model of the company (organization) development was proposed based on improved management of business and HR processes using VR and AR tools. The developed model demonstrates the advantages of using it, and presents the reasons for the economic expediency of using these technologies at all stages of personnel management, including recruiting, staff selection, demonstration of the employer’s brand, testing candidates’ skills, improving internal communications, creating a positive corporate culture for employees, imitating the workflow, VR and AR-simulations as a tool for passing the input testing for recruitment, selection and management of remote employees, training, assessment, and adaptation of staff. The possibilities of using VR/AR as tools for operational improvements (lean management), for example, for organizing virtual business meetings and meetings, creating virtual presentations, online controlling in the manufacturing sector, automating operational processes, and using VR technologies, are also separately disclosed in the management of logistics, distribution, marketing, and advertising. The results of the analysis of theoretical and statistical sources of information showed the promise of using the possibilities of virtual reality in corporate management, which shifts the emphasis from the traditional understanding and perception of these technologies exclusively in the entertainment field. The obtained developments within the framework of the conducted research are universal in nature and can be applicable both in the study of modern methods of personnel management and in corporate lean management of modern business companies at various levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
The Mediating Role of Business Strategies between Management Control Systems Package and Firms Stability: Evidence from SMEs in Malaysia
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174705 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
The aim of the current study was to ascertain the influence of a management control systems (MCS) package on a firm’s sustainability with the help of mediating variables such as differentiation and cost leadership strategy in Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Data [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study was to ascertain the influence of a management control systems (MCS) package on a firm’s sustainability with the help of mediating variables such as differentiation and cost leadership strategy in Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Data were collected from managers working in Malaysian SMEs. A total of 384 questionnaires was finally used for analysis using SmartPLS 3.8.2. Area cluster sampling was used for data collection, and seven out of sixteen clusters were selected randomly. These included Selangor, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Penang, Sarawak, and Perak because these seven states cover 73.9% of total SMEs. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the hypotheses. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was also used to examine the reliability and validity, and structural model assessment was used to test the relationship between variables. Findings revealed that an MCS package had a positive influence on a firm’s sustainability, cost leadership, and differentiation strategy. Moreover, cost leadership and differentiation strategy have a significant and positive influence on a firm’s sustainability. In addition, cost leadership strategies and differentiation strategies significantly mediate between the MCS package and a firm’s sustainability. This research assesses the influence of the MCS package through cost leadership and differentiation strategy on a firm’s sustainability of Malaysian SMEs. It helps top management to focus on the MCS package and business strategies in attaining a firm’s long-term sustainability. Finally, research recommendations discuss that the present study helps future researchers and academicians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementing the Concept of Neurolinguistic Programming Related to Sustainable Human Capital Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4031; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154031 - 25 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Sustainability business is a multidimensional construct the research of which assumes an interdisciplinary approach. The given approach is related to a holistic concept of defining sustainability business. From the point of view of this concept, it is necessary to understand economic, socio-cultural attributes, [...] Read more.
Sustainability business is a multidimensional construct the research of which assumes an interdisciplinary approach. The given approach is related to a holistic concept of defining sustainability business. From the point of view of this concept, it is necessary to understand economic, socio-cultural attributes, and the human resources attributes as one whole that differs from the final study results of individual elements of sustainability business in the meaning of the Principle of Emergence. Within this concept, it is possible and inevitable to focus our attention on the issue of human capital in the context of socio-cultural factors. In the presented paper, attention was paid to the results of examining the neurolinguistic programming (NLP) as one of the possibilities of sustainable development of human capital. The main aim of the research with 104 respondents was to identify and specify the indicators of sustainable human capital development and selected attributes of neurolinguistic programming. The results of analyses confirmed the existence of these connections. The respondents who evaluated the NLP attributes more positively also evaluated more positively the indicators of a sustainable human capital development. The limits of the presented analyses results are limited by the cultural conditions of the research, size, and the selection of the research sample and also by accepting other factors in the context of a holistic approach to this issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of the Sharing Economy in the B2B Sector
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3976; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143976 - 22 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The sharing economy is treated as an alternative consumption model. Its aim is to increase the efficiency of the resources used and create a new value for society. In order to create a new value for business, attempts are being made to implement [...] Read more.
The sharing economy is treated as an alternative consumption model. Its aim is to increase the efficiency of the resources used and create a new value for society. In order to create a new value for business, attempts are being made to implement a shared economy model in the B2B (business-to-business) sector. While this model is effectively implemented in the case of B2C (business-to-consumer) relations, sharing resources is still a problem in the business environment. In the case of B2B relationships, the use of the sharing economy has a number of unresolved issues concerning legal regulations, responsibility, and security. The research presented in this article includes the analysis and assessment of the sharing economy between enterprises in order to identify whether, and in what way, the exchange of material resources between them is implemented. In order to indicate what factors motivate enterprises for sharing and using the resources of other companies, the selected methods of statistical testing were applied. The empirical research was preceded by the literature analysis in which the basic concepts and aspects of the concept of the sharing economy was referred to against the background of the fourth industrial revolution. The obtained results showed that enterprises which have fixed assets are willing to exchange them with other entities. At the same time, the lack of formal and technological solutions is the most important barrier in implementing the economy of sharing in B2B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Role of Social and Technological Challenges in Achieving a Sustainable Competitive Advantage and Sustainable Business Performance
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3811; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143811 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 70
Abstract
In the postmodern era of industrialization, sustainable business performance is vital for success in a competitive environment. In order to attain sustainable business performance, Malaysian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are facing various social and technological challenges. The objective of this study was [...] Read more.
In the postmodern era of industrialization, sustainable business performance is vital for success in a competitive environment. In order to attain sustainable business performance, Malaysian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are facing various social and technological challenges. The objective of this study was to examine the roles of social and technological challenges in achieving a sustainable competitive advantage and sustainable business performance. To accomplish this objective, first-hand data were collected from Malaysian SMEs. Opinions of managerial staff of these SMEs were preferred regarding the roles of social and technological challenges in achieving a sustainable competitive advantage and sustainable business performance. An email survey was carried out to collect data. A total of 500 questionnaires were distributed among managerial staff of SMEs. Questionnaires were distributed by using simple random sampling. By using structural equation modeling, findings of the study revealed that social and technological challenges played major roles in boosting sustainable competitive advantage and sustainable business performance. Moreover, strategic alignment was a key in reflecting the positive roles of social and technological factors on sustainable competitive advantage. Findings of the study are beneficial for practitioners and will allow their strategies to reflect sustainable competitive advantages and sustainable business performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Institutional Quality and Wealth from Oil Revenue on Economic Growth in Oil-Exporting Developing Countries
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3635; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133635 - 02 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
This article investigates the role of institutional quality in the oil wealth–economic growth nexus for 35 oil-exporting developing countries between 1984 and 2016. To achieve this objective, an empirical model was employed with linear interaction between oil wealth and institutional quality, and estimated [...] Read more.
This article investigates the role of institutional quality in the oil wealth–economic growth nexus for 35 oil-exporting developing countries between 1984 and 2016. To achieve this objective, an empirical model was employed with linear interaction between oil wealth and institutional quality, and estimated by means of panel autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) with a dynamic fixed effect estimator. From the results, a contingent effect of oil wealth on economic growth, both in the long run and in the short run, was established. Specifically, institutional quality was found to mitigate the negative effect of oil wealth on economic growth in the long run, while in the short run, institutional quality was found to enhance the positive effect of oil wealth on economic growth. Furthermore, the results provide the threshold levels of institutional quality, beyond which oil wealth enhances economic growth, both in the long run and in the short run, for the sampled countries. These results suggest that in order for oil-exporting developing countries to benefit from an increase in oil wealth, they must adopt appropriate policy measures to improve their levels of institutional quality and embed their entire oil wealth-generating mechanism in a sound institutional framework. Also of importance is that governments must ensure sustainable development through the benefits of wealth from oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
Open AccessArticle
The Main Performance and Effectiveness Factors of Sustainable Financial Administration Reform Using Multidimensional Statistical Tools
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3609; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133609 - 30 Jun 2019
Abstract
The tax system reform is a part of Slovakia’s comprehensive tax and levies reform. The reform should contribute to improving and making public finances more efficient. Its implementation into practice, however, is problematic due to attitudes and problems on the part of both [...] Read more.
The tax system reform is a part of Slovakia’s comprehensive tax and levies reform. The reform should contribute to improving and making public finances more efficient. Its implementation into practice, however, is problematic due to attitudes and problems on the part of both the professional public and business entities. The aim of the paper is to help public authorities, and also tax policymakers and business entities to understand the perception of the tax system reform focusing on the most important and key factors of its sustainable effectiveness and performance in the context of its non-macroeconomic especially social, technological and process aspects. The analysis reveals the differences in perceptions of key factors from the viewpoint of the three studied groups. The paper is based on the information of the main actors of tax reform. In extensive empirical quantitative research (N = 1500), the data was obtained through the questionnaire survey carried out in four main districts of Slovakia. The data obtained during six months of 2018 using the questionnaire method were processed by basic statistical methods of descriptive statistics, followed by an analysis of major components and the factor analysis using more sophisticated multidimensional statistical tools. The factor analysis is crucial to the present paper as it has identified five significant indicators of the reform assessment and the functioning of the tax system after tax reform. Subsequently, a correspondence analysis has been applied to the item “electronization/computerization—great user comfort” to find out the differences in its perception by the respondents. The article thus provides a new scientific view on the evaluation of the reform of the financial administration’s management system in the Slovak Republic as well as its functioning in the context of its sustainable effectiveness and performance. The research results offer important and exciting implications and also motives for further investigation on the issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Competitiveness and Its Impact on Sustainability, Business Environment, and Human Development of EU (28) Countries in terms of Global Multi-Criteria Indices
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3365; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123365 - 18 Jun 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
In this paper, the following research problem was addressed: Is there a significant economic impact of multidimensional specified competitiveness within the EU (28) countries on the competitive business environment, human development, and sustainable growth? Based on the mentioned research problem, we formulated the [...] Read more.
In this paper, the following research problem was addressed: Is there a significant economic impact of multidimensional specified competitiveness within the EU (28) countries on the competitive business environment, human development, and sustainable growth? Based on the mentioned research problem, we formulated the aim of paper: To detect the significant interrelations among the assessment of global competitiveness, business environment as well as human development in the EU (28) countries for the period of 2006–2017. To address these problems, the methodology of global multi-criteria indices, namely the global competitiveness index (GCI), doing business index (DBI), and human development index (HDI), as well as panel analysis and non-linear regression analyses with ANOVA, were applied. The panel analysis results suggest that there is a direct linear relationship between the GCI and HDI. Moreover, the impact of the DBI on the change in the GCI score was not confirmed. We identified the main areas of countries’ interest, and important economic and statistical significant relations of competitiveness by creating three models: The GD model (constructed by GCI and DBI scores), GH model (GCI and HDI scores), and GDH model (GCI, DBI and HDI scores). Based on the results, all interrelations were confirmed. However, the highest extent of variability for the explanation of the selected data was recorded in the case of the GDH model (87.12%). We detected the impact of the business environment and human resources as competitive advantages on global macroeconomic competitiveness. As the business sector in EU (28) countries is represented mainly by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enterprise activities play a key role in the process of sustainable competitive economic development. Moreover, human resources are considered to be another important driver of the internationalization of European SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Leverage Levels in Response to Shocks in Equity Prices: Islamic Finance as a Socially Responsible Investment
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3260; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123260 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
This study looks at how firms react to shocks in equity prices based on a classification which arises from social pressures rather than the financial objective of maximizing shareholders’ wealth. In order to meet the objective of the study, a sample of Malaysian [...] Read more.
This study looks at how firms react to shocks in equity prices based on a classification which arises from social pressures rather than the financial objective of maximizing shareholders’ wealth. In order to meet the objective of the study, a sample of Malaysian firms from the period of 2003 to 2018 was utilized to evaluate the relationship between market and book debt ratios based on a social distinction. The study is based on the theoretical expectation that managers are inclined to adjust book debt ratios to converge with market debt values which arise from changes in equity values over time. We introduce a unique institutional setting into the relationship which is readily observable in the Malaysian capital market given the existence of Shari’ah and non-Shari’ah compliant company classifications on the stock exchange (Bursa Malaysia), as screened by the Securities Commission. The classification forms the basis for distinguishing Socially Responsible Investment options for investors. The findings reveal the existence of asymmetries in how both categories of firms adjust towards shocks in equity prices. The findings document that both compliant and non-compliant firms decrease book debt ratios in line with increases in firms’ equity values. Compliant firms, on the other hand, are more likely to increase book debt ratios during periods of decreases in equity values. Non-compliant firms do not significantly alter book debt ratios during periods of declining equity prices. The findings indicate that whilst firms tend to decrease debt levels in the presence of future growth potential, the response is asymmetric during periods of suppression of share prices. Thus, the screening of compliant versus non-compliant firms allows investors to distinguish sustainable firms in the long run, which further allows diversification when holding socially responsible investment portfolios. Our conclusions have wide reaching implications on a global scale for the development of sustainable capital markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions as a Challenge for Sustainable Business
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3130; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113130 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
When considering the challenges for sustainable business, companies implementing cross-border reallocation of capital by means of mergers and acquisitions should take into account the context and evaluation of attributes of their future implementation. The main aim of the paper is, therefore, to identify [...] Read more.
When considering the challenges for sustainable business, companies implementing cross-border reallocation of capital by means of mergers and acquisitions should take into account the context and evaluation of attributes of their future implementation. The main aim of the paper is, therefore, to identify and specify the key attributes of sustainable cross-border mergers or acquisitions (M&As) influencing the considerations about their future implementation. On the basis of the views of managers from 120 companies (international corporations selected from the Zephyr database) located in 45 countries within the European area that had previously been the subject of a cross-border merger or acquisition, significant attributes were extracted in connection with their experience from their implementation. These attributes are taken into account when considering the implementation of a cross-border merger or acquisition in the future. A factor analysis of the data obtained allowed the extraction of three key attributes of implementation of a potential merger and acquisition process as an important tool of business sustainability—aims, concerns, and reasons. This paper further presents the basic parameters of the Attributes of Future Mergers and Acquisitions (AFM&A) methodology: eigenvalues, Cronbach’s alpha values, the percentage of the variance explained, inter-correlations of the extracted factors, and the results of an analysis of differences in the assessment of the extracted factors by managers. At the same time, no statistically significant differences were found in the assessment of the extracted merger and acquisition assessment factors. The study fills in the research gap in the area by identifying and specifying the attributes of considering the future implementation of M&A management in terms of the broader concept of this issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
From Basic Research to Competitiveness: An Econometric Analysis of the Global Pharmaceutical Sector
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113125 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The pharmaceutical sector is a flagship of the economy in most developed countries and is one of the most research-intensive sectors of modern economies. The aim of this paper was to determine the mutual relationships between the research and development (R&D) resources, various [...] Read more.
The pharmaceutical sector is a flagship of the economy in most developed countries and is one of the most research-intensive sectors of modern economies. The aim of this paper was to determine the mutual relationships between the research and development (R&D) resources, various indicators of scientific performance and the competitiveness of the sector. We carried out a cointegration analysis of a time series of R+D resources, the number of academic papers published, as well as patents and the competitiveness of this sector in various developed states. The econometric analysis of time series is built on panel cointegration models. Based on the combination of different comprehensive and coherent international databases and applying the latest methods of modern time series analysis, the paper proves that, in most developed countries, a direct, significant, causal, lagged relationship between the monetary resources allocated to R&D and the number of academic papers, as well as the number of patents can be observed. In most cases, a causal relationship can be demonstrated between the number of academic papers and patents, but vice versa, this fact is not provable. This study highlights the complexity of innovation systems in the pharmaceutical sector. The results prove only a weak connection between the number of patents and the number of publications. When evaluating the efficiency of the utilisation of resources allocated to pharmaceutical R+D, the effect of the time lag should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmentalism and Polish Coal Mining: A Multilevel Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3086; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113086 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper, drawing on a questionnaire survey conducted among 587 coal miners from six coal mines, seeks to ascertain whether the Polish coal mining industry is committed to organizational greening and whether its employees behave in environmentally responsible ways. Specifically, it explores—by means [...] Read more.
This paper, drawing on a questionnaire survey conducted among 587 coal miners from six coal mines, seeks to ascertain whether the Polish coal mining industry is committed to organizational greening and whether its employees behave in environmentally responsible ways. Specifically, it explores—by means of hierarchical linear modeling (HLM)—the direct effects of green organizational climates on miners’ pro-environmental conduct at home and at work. We found that climates had a direct effect on employee behavior in and outside the workplace, and that personal environmental values were positively related to the latter variable. However, it has to be admitted that the actual engagement of coal miners in voluntary pro-environmental action at work was not very deep. Crucially, it turned out that, in two coal mines, there were strong green climates, while the rest were weak, which suggests differences in terms of commitment to organizational greening throughout the industry. The present paper explores the significance of the results and highlights the applicability of our methodological approach to the study of employee involvement in organizational pro-environmental action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
An Exploration of Initial Purchase Price Dispersion and Service-Subscription Duration
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092481 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Despite the readily available consumer price information, price dispersion persists for products and services and has been extensively researched. However, there is scant literature on the influence of price dispersion on consumer behavior. The present study uses actual consumer purchase data of software [...] Read more.
Despite the readily available consumer price information, price dispersion persists for products and services and has been extensively researched. However, there is scant literature on the influence of price dispersion on consumer behavior. The present study uses actual consumer purchase data of software service subscriptions and applies range–frequency principles to investigate how a customer’s price and relative position along a distribution at initial subscription might impact their subscription lifetimes. The study findings reveal that, in general, consumers paying higher initial prices retain their subscriptions longer, confirming the relationship between a consumer’s service value expectation and search cost. However, the amount of a consumer’s paid prices relative to that of other consumers’ can be helpful in predicting subscription duration. Consumers paying a relatively high price compared with others with similar subscription beginning dates have shorter subscription durations, which raise a concern regarding use of individual customer’s price information. The study suggests that principles of range–frequency theory are useful for comprehensively integrating price dispersion information. One interesting and counterintuitive implication of our analysis is that advantaged-price inequities (where the focal customer’s paid price is lower compared to another customer’s paid price) can also raise concerns about unfairness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Internal, External and Enterprise Risk Management on the Performance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2172; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072172 - 11 Apr 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
This paper aims to develop the role of internal factors, external factors, and risk management variables on MSMEs’ business performance. This research was conducted in underdeveloped regions of five provinces, which includes 14 cities in Indonesia—East Java, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, West Nusa [...] Read more.
This paper aims to develop the role of internal factors, external factors, and risk management variables on MSMEs’ business performance. This research was conducted in underdeveloped regions of five provinces, which includes 14 cities in Indonesia—East Java, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara. The Resource-based view and Market-based view methods were chosen to measure 1401 data of MSMEs. The data was collected using offline questionnaires then processed using SPSS. This paper demonstrates a remarkable outcome for MSMEs, showing the significant result of risk management factors that includes risk assessment of marketing and financial management. Other independent variables of internal, external, and risk management factors also show important outcomes on MSMEs performance. This paper offers additional value of the implementation of ERM in MSMEs, which are spread in underdeveloped regions in Indonesia. The findings shown that the activity of the enterprises in identifying and managing risk would bring up the significant effect on operational business performances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
The Application of Information Technologies in Consideration of Augmented Reality and Lean Management of Enterprises in the Light of Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2157; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072157 - 11 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The paper discusses the problem associated with the use of modern information technologies that take into account extended reality and the lean management culture to achieve sustainable development by enterprises, which is part of the field of management science. The subject is important [...] Read more.
The paper discusses the problem associated with the use of modern information technologies that take into account extended reality and the lean management culture to achieve sustainable development by enterprises, which is part of the field of management science. The subject is important and current due to the strong social need for the implementation of the concept of sustainable development. The aim of the article is to learn about and evaluate augmented reality and lean culture in the area of sustainable development management of enterprises. The concept of sustainable development is an approach that arouses great interest among management theoreticians, but many practitioners still do not know how to effectively realize it in changing conditions. Therefore, the paper proposes the application and the use of augmented reality and lean culture assumptions in the area of sustainable development management of enterprises. In the research, the authors emphasize that the sustainable approach to enterprise management should take into account the assessment of augmented reality (AR) and instruments of lean culture in the area of management since better understanding of the coexistence of benefits, compromises, opportunities and threats related to modern technologies allows for more efficient implementation of sustainable development management in enterprises. The paper has been divided into four parts. The first part presents the concept of sustainable development in the light of the literature research. The second part shows the essence of augmented reality as a modern information technology. The third part of the paper is devoted to the presentation of the concept of lean management in enterprises. The fourth part of the paper is the case study, in which the DHL enterprise report is related to, where the applied and utilized augmented reality and lean culture in shaping sustainable development are presented. The methods used to achieve the goal are: Literature studies, descriptive analysis and case study. The whole discussion is closed with the summary, which shows that the scope of application of augmented reality and lean culture in the area of sustainable development management of enterprises is unlimited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Development of a Business Model by Introducing Sustainable and Tailor-Made Value Proposition for SME Clients
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041157 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Due to the combination of vast technology trends brought by Industry 4.0, present-day consumers need and stiff global competition and require businesses from across many industries to constantly innovate. Clients request multifaceted support from manufacturers and service providers while the transition towards new [...] Read more.
Due to the combination of vast technology trends brought by Industry 4.0, present-day consumers need and stiff global competition and require businesses from across many industries to constantly innovate. Clients request multifaceted support from manufacturers and service providers while the transition towards new symbiotic ecosystems disrupts traditionally established processes in some sectors. This is largely happening in the global automotive industry where in-car and around-the-car services with asset-sharing concepts are taking a dominant role rather than plain vehicles sales and car ownership. In our paper, we investigate the possibilities of new and improved business collaborations between a car retailer operating in several European countries and its SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) customers across various sectors currently owning car fleets of at least five vehicles. We test several hypotheses and conduct a systematic statistical analysis of the proposed business model’s aspects on the sample of almost 200 SMEs from five countries in Southeast Europe. By using the χ2 test and a one-tailed t-test we tested both frequency data and the continuous variables. Research indicates that SMEs look for new ways to organize their fleet management strategy more efficiently and thus more precisely plan associated costs. Regardless of the country of origin, SMEs want to explore a business model with more introduced to their fleet management and are ready to accept new technologies for fleet management operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Lessons Learned from Establishing the Energy-Informatics Business Model: Case of a German Energy Company
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030857 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Energy and utilities companies find themselves in a paradoxical situation in which their traditional business models are losing profitability, and they must advocate energy efficiency and climate-protection goals, and thus encourage their customers to save energy. As a result, they must partially cannibalize [...] Read more.
Energy and utilities companies find themselves in a paradoxical situation in which their traditional business models are losing profitability, and they must advocate energy efficiency and climate-protection goals, and thus encourage their customers to save energy. As a result, they must partially cannibalize their business models and experiment with new models and techniques. Energy Informatics (EI) offers promising business opportunities that alleviate the concerns of energy companies about traditional revenue streams. However, recent discussions on this issue lack proof of concept and success determinants. This business case study fills this gap by describing the journey of German energy company Energiequelle, which established a sustainable business model based on EI. On the basis of our interview data, we analyzed Energiequelle’s EI strategy and stakeholder management and present six lessons learned. We believe that our practice-oriented research provides profound insight, especially to high-level executives and policymakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Government Social Media: A Multi-Analytic Approach to Predict Citizens’ Mobile Government Microblog Continuance
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4849; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124849 - 19 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Attracting citizens and facilitating their continued usage is critical for the sustainable development of mobile government microblog services. Drawing on the stimulus–organism–response (SOR) framework and the literature related to perceived value, this study investigates the factors that affect citizens’ continuance intention vis-a-vis mobile [...] Read more.
Attracting citizens and facilitating their continued usage is critical for the sustainable development of mobile government microblog services. Drawing on the stimulus–organism–response (SOR) framework and the literature related to perceived value, this study investigates the factors that affect citizens’ continuance intention vis-a-vis mobile government microblogs from a value-based perspective. A structural equation modeling (SEM)-neural network combined method was used to test the proposed model by using data collected from 301 mobile government microblog users in China. The SEM analysis shows that social influence, perceived interactivity, and perceived mobility positively affect citizens’ utilitarian value and hedonic value, which further affects their continuance intention. The significant factors obtained from the SEM are used as input for a neural network analysis to calculate their relative impacts. The results of the neural network analysis showed that perceived mobility is the most important factor influencing utilitarian value, while social influence is the most significant factor affecting hedonic value. The normalized importance of utilitarian value on continuance behaviors is larger than that of hedonic value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
An Analysis of a Repetitive News Display Phenomenon in the Digital News Ecosystem
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4736; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124736 - 12 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
In South Korea, approximately 88.5% of online users have obtained news and information from news aggregators such as Naver and Daum. Since most users read news on the internet, a new type of tabloid journalism, referred to as “news abuse,” has emerged in [...] Read more.
In South Korea, approximately 88.5% of online users have obtained news and information from news aggregators such as Naver and Daum. Since most users read news on the internet, a new type of tabloid journalism, referred to as “news abuse,” has emerged in South Korea. “News abuse” is jargon used in South Korea to mean the repetitive display of news by online news publishers. “News abuse” is similar to “clickbait” in its use of clickbait headline links to attract online users’ attention and encourage them to click on links. This study explores the characteristics of news abusing phenomena in South Korea. With content analysis of 2101 articles (609 stories for soft news and 1402 stories for hard news), we attempt to investigate when news abuse saliently occurs and to whom news abusing is attributed. Our results show that news abuse is prevalent among South Korean newspapers during the first three hours after initial news reports are made and when people have time to rest after lunch between noon and 3 p.m. Moreover, the highest percentage of news abuse of soft news was found among tabloid daily newspapers, while that of hard news was found among daily newspapers. In addition, intermedia news abuse was more frequently utilized than intramedia news abuse. The percentage of intermedia abuse, in particular, was higher in general daily newspapers and business newspapers than in other news media platforms. By contrast, the percentage of intramedia news abuse was significantly higher in 24-h news channels. News abuse may be a side effect of news aggregation in the division of labor of news production and news distribution. More steps are required to decrease news abuse, which will lead to maintenance of a healthy digital news ecosystem and development of the news aggregation business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
Determinants of Firm’s Export Performance in China’s Automobile Industry
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4078; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114078 - 07 Nov 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
The automobile industry has significantly contributed towards China’s economy. After producing approximately 24.5 million vehicles in 2015, China’s automobile industry has achieved its greatest height by emerging worldwide as the top automobile producer. However, China’s automobile industry could not sustain this achievement and [...] Read more.
The automobile industry has significantly contributed towards China’s economy. After producing approximately 24.5 million vehicles in 2015, China’s automobile industry has achieved its greatest height by emerging worldwide as the top automobile producer. However, China’s automobile industry could not sustain this achievement and it witnessed a sudden growth rate decrease in 2016–2017, reflecting their poor export performance. To address this problem, the prime objective of this research is to explore the roles of total quality management (TQM), entrepreneurial orientation (EO), export market orientation (EMO), brand orientation (BO) and cleaner production (CP) in firm export performance (FEP). For this reason, a quantitative research approach with cross-sectional research design was adopted by gathering the data from 347 respondents working as export managers at Chinese automobile companies via simple random technique. Partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) through software smartPLS-3.2.7 employed to analyze data. Results revealed that the TQM, EO, EMO, BO, and CP has a significant association with FEP. Additionally, findings confirmed CP as a moderating variable that contributes positively to FEP. The research has eminently contributed to the export performance of the automobile industry, specifically in China. It is very beneficial to practitioners in the Chinese automobile industry as it will assist them in regaining and exceeding their record export performance while also contributes to resource-based-view theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Ad-Blocking on the Sustainable Development of the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4039; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114039 - 04 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Despite the rapidly growing expenditure on digital advertising, the effectiveness of the functioning of the digital advertising ecosystem is becoming less and less visible. This is related to the fact that only a small part of the expenditure incurred by organizations on various [...] Read more.
Despite the rapidly growing expenditure on digital advertising, the effectiveness of the functioning of the digital advertising ecosystem is becoming less and less visible. This is related to the fact that only a small part of the expenditure incurred by organizations on various forms of digital advertising brings the expected results. For several years now, a phenomenon that stifles the effectiveness of the digital advertising ecosystem and deteriorates the ROI (return on investment) of advertisers has been the widespread practice of blocking advertising, known as ad-blocking. In this context, the aim of this article is to analyze the scale of the phenomenon of ad-blocking and its causes in terms of its impact on the effectiveness of the functioning of the digital advertising ecosystem and its sustainable development, which is extremely important from the point of view of the development of electronic commerce. In order to carry out this study, a literature analysis was conducted on the genesis of this phenomenon, its scale, causes, and economic effects. After this stage of research, in order to obtain primary data, a questionnaire survey was conducted on a group of individual Internet users. The results of the research indicated three main reasons for the development of ad-blocking. These are: excessive number of advertisements, their excessive invasiveness, and the mismatch between the advertisements displayed to the user and the user’s interests. In the context of these results and of the continued sustainable functioning of the digital advertising ecosystem, it is essential that the advertising industry be able to offer users alternatives to ad-blocking that they consider valuable from their own point of view and that take the users’ expectations into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and New Technology Challenges of Sustainable Business)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Titile: Knowledge Management and Sustainable Balanced Scorecard: Practical Application to SMEs.
Authors: Ferber, D.; Redondo, A.; Pascual, J.A & Gento, A.M.
Abstract:
Many works highlight the importance and added value of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in companies, as well as the role of Knowledge Management (KM) for their revitalization. But even more important is to ensure that all efforts and resources are aligned with the organization's strategic objectives (Balanced Scorecard BSC). The aim of this work is to integrate BSC, CSR and KM based on the results of two previous researches: one on BSC-CSR and the other on KM, both of a projective nature (description-action-contrast). The research carried out has made it possible to identify: 45 KW indicators, 102 CSR indicators, and their corresponding correlations with the strategic objectives and perspectives of the BSC. In addition, an Excel tool has been designed and developed for SMEs: customizable, intuitive and useful for decision-making, this has allowed us to contrast the obtained results.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Knowledge Management (KM); Balanced Scorecard (BSC)
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