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Special Issue "Sustainable Business and Development II"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Rachel J.C. Fu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
2. The Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Interests: impacts of climate changes on communities; sustainable business; sustainable development; sustainable consumer services; sustainable hospitality and tourism; branding; marketing; forecasting models; economic impacts; artificial intelligence; data analystics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Companies are leveraging immense resources to subscribe to green practices that can improve business bottom lines and refine their brand images. While facing the challenges of corporate social responsibility, embedding a sustainability culture into the company’s core values will not only reduce the company’s operational footprints and produce significant efficiencies in all aspects, but will also improve economic benefits. Communities will gain jobs and economic benefits through corporate volunteerism and financial giving. Also, the enriched relationships between the business and public sectors will sustain thriving communities by advancing sustainable initiatives, supporting charitable activities, and promoting civic enhancement.

This Special Issue aims to discuss strategy frameworks from a sustainable business and development perspective. We invite you to contribute to this issue by submitting comprehensive reviews, case studies or research articles. Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Prof. Dr. Rachel J.C. Chen
Guest Editor

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 2000 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

  • innovative and sustainable business practices
  • operational solutions
  • strategies of improving  communities’ quality of life
  • sustainable business models
  • green development
  • sustainable consumer service
  • employee satisfaction and productivity
  • company profitability

Published Papers (42 papers)

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Article
Fostering Continuous Value Proposition Innovation through Freelancer Involvement in Software Startups: Insights from Multiple Case Studies
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8922; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218922 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1149
Abstract
[Context] The software startups could continuously innovate business model value proposition by involving freelancers as a source of innovative ideas (that enhance customer perceived value) and as experts for implementing the innovative ideas (by undertaking software engineering tasks). Startups employ one of three [...] Read more.
[Context] The software startups could continuously innovate business model value proposition by involving freelancers as a source of innovative ideas (that enhance customer perceived value) and as experts for implementing the innovative ideas (by undertaking software engineering tasks). Startups employ one of three strategies for associating with freelancers i.e., task based (association ends with completion of the outsourced task), panel based (outsourcing task to a panel of freelancers associated with startup), or hybrid. Uncertainties, terminology issues, high technical debt, lack of documentation, lack of systematic decision making processes, lack of resources, lack of brand values, need for the continuous involvement of the freelancer to incorporate continuous validated learnings, merging freelancer perspectives, and deciding the level of their involvement in individual requirement engineering (or value proposition innovation) activities, are the main inhibitors for associations with freelancers. The availability of good freelancers and their long term and continuous commitments are necessary requirements for value proposition innovation. The theory about freelancer association with the software startups is extended by studying the real practices of startups, which successfully involved freelancers for value proposition innovation by capturing innovative ideas and acquiring the freelancer’s skills to implement those ideas. [Objectives] The objective of this paper is to explain the strategies adopted by the software startups to foster value proposition innovation by continuously involving the freelancers and the way they overcome the challenges arising because of the associations. The findings are driven by the study of real practices of startups that proved to be successful in the market by involving freelancers and continuous innovations leading to increased market shares. [Method] This paper performs empirical studies through case studies of three software startups located in Italy, France, and India, which are at the verge of being transforming into big companies, with large market share. The current practices highlighting the successful way of executing freelancing association strategies for value proposition innovation and the way to overcome the arising challenges are reported. The findings are also compared with those of two young startups based in Switzerland and India, to bring useful lessons for the young startups. The case study results are validated by employees from the studied startups (both those who participated in data collection and those who did not). [Results] The results indicate that freelancer involvement during value proposition activities, which is the core business operation, is beneficial to the both freelancers and the startups. Startup teams could reduce the development costs, shorten time to market, and increase customer satisfaction (by providing features addressing real market needs) by correctly involving the freelancers uniformly across value proposition activities. The startups could manage innovation with small teams (compared to human resources in companies) if done jointly with the freelancers, that helps the team members to learn new skills, upgrade their skills, and learn new perspectives about their markets. Business impacts due to freelancer involvement are stronger if the level of freelancer involvement across various value proposition activities is higher compared to their involvement across few activities only. The studied startups are not completely dependent on the freelancers but the freelancer’s perspectives and skills are valued as a rich source of market success. Freelancer involvement is taken as an opportunity to gain access to global market perspectives, which otherwise would be effortful for in-house teams to collect. In addition, they resolve technical debt, are a source of upgrading skills for undertaking future innovation, and help reaching customers for marketing (promoting product and gaining access to the feedbacks). Overall, the value proposition innovation in the studied startups have different levels of involvement of the freelancers but these startups have reported positive impacts on the business in terms of development cost reductions, shorten time to market, and high customer satisfaction (measured on early attainment of product/market fit and fast growth thereafter). The case study results are validated by the startup employees (member checking). The responses collected are analysed using box plots, which shows a higher level of result agreements among the employees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Communication
Economic Paradigms and Corporate Culture after the Great COVID-19 Pandemic: Towards a New Role of Welfare Organisations and Insurers
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8163; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198163 - 02 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
Current events have put us in front of new paradigms on which our life and its economic aspects seem to be based: the worldwide spread of contagion from COVID-19 threatens dramatic long-term changes in the economy, lifestyle, and social structures. Valuing virtuous behaviour [...] Read more.
Current events have put us in front of new paradigms on which our life and its economic aspects seem to be based: the worldwide spread of contagion from COVID-19 threatens dramatic long-term changes in the economy, lifestyle, and social structures. Valuing virtuous behaviour through the transfer and sharing of risks among several actors allows us to achieve benefits for all. The COVID-19 pandemic leads us to experiment with new forms of public health protection, including through insurance instruments. The role of insurance companies, intrinsically linked with the protection of primary areas such as healthcare and welfare, therefore becomes more critical than ever in terms of securing the protection of people, families, and productive activities. This work endorses the design of a virtuous cycle of investments, which may be implemented starting with insurance companies; such a project would unfold through insurance policies’ contractual lines, securitisation schemes, investment policies, and socially responsible corporate strategies Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure, Ownership Structure and Cost of Capital: Evidence from the UAE
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187706 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
The capital structure decision is one of the most vital financial decisions of the corporation that consists of determining the optimal combination of equity and debt for the companies that would reduce the cost of capital. The examination of the capital structure has [...] Read more.
The capital structure decision is one of the most vital financial decisions of the corporation that consists of determining the optimal combination of equity and debt for the companies that would reduce the cost of capital. The examination of the capital structure has always gained importance especially in the theoretical and empirical studies while there is no study of the relationship between the environmental, social, and governance (ESG), the ownership structure, and the cost of capital. In this context, this paper aims to examine the potential impacts of the ESG disclosure and ownership structure on the cost of capital by using a sample of 30 companies listed on the UAE financial markets (Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and Dubai Financial Market) during the period 2010–2019. The data show that there is an increasing trend in the different non-financial corporate disclosures. The empirical results of various models show that the ESG disclosure, the insider and the institutional ownerships have negative and significant impacts on the cost of capital. Furthermore, the environmental and the governance disclosures reduce the cost of capital. This paper demonstrates the strong role played by the ESG disclosure and the ownership structure in reducing the cost of capital for the companies. These results would encourage the companies in implementing the best practices of the non-financial disclosures and regulating their corporate governance mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
Article
Building a Thriving Organization: The Antecedents of Job Engagement and Their Impact on Voice Behavior
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7536; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187536 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
For an organization to become sustainable, it is essential to keep employees engaged in their jobs with enthusiasm. Thus, this study presents and tests an integrative model of job engagement. Based on Kahn’s model, we adopted person–job fit (P–J fit), psychological contract fulfillment, [...] Read more.
For an organization to become sustainable, it is essential to keep employees engaged in their jobs with enthusiasm. Thus, this study presents and tests an integrative model of job engagement. Based on Kahn’s model, we adopted person–job fit (P–J fit), psychological contract fulfillment, and self-efficacy as the antecedents of job engagement, verified how these antecedents affect job engagement, and examined how they influence voice behavior. Data were collected from 189 subordinate–supervisor dyads from public corporations and private enterprises in South Korea. The results of the analysis suggested that all antecedents have positive relationships with job engagement. We also found that job engagement is positively related to employees’ voice behavior, and fully mediates the relationships between the antecedents and voice behavior. Moreover, our findings suggested that perceived coworker support moderates the relationship between job engagement and voice behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Access Over Ownership: Case Studies of Libraries of Things
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7180; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177180 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1668
Abstract
Over the last decade there has been increasing interest in the concept of the sharing economy, which replaces the focus on individual ownership with a focus on access to goods and services through borrowing, hiring or sharing. This study investigates the efficacy of [...] Read more.
Over the last decade there has been increasing interest in the concept of the sharing economy, which replaces the focus on individual ownership with a focus on access to goods and services through borrowing, hiring or sharing. This study investigates the efficacy of extending the library concept to include more items, such as those that are used infrequently. The aim is to explore how Libraries of Things (LoTs) operate and the potential to broaden their appeal, reach and sustainability. This study adopts a multiple case study method to provide a snapshot of six LoTs in the UK. Findings indicate that all LoTs shared common environmental and social values, with the most prevalent values being to use the library concept to reduce resource use and waste and to enable more equitable access to goods. All relied on volunteers and public support, in the form of free or discounted space and none were yet economically self-sufficient. This poses important questions about the future for LoTs and whether they could or even should, transition towards the mainstream to make a more substantive contribution to creating a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Impact of Pricing Practice Management on Performance and Sustainability of Supermarkets in the Urban Area of Enugu State, Nigeria
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6019; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156019 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
Consumer shopping behavior is becoming increasingly polarized, which has an impact on price decisions, and the performance and sustainability of supermarkets. This study sets out to empirically determine the impact that pricing practice management has on the performance and sustainability of supermarkets in [...] Read more.
Consumer shopping behavior is becoming increasingly polarized, which has an impact on price decisions, and the performance and sustainability of supermarkets. This study sets out to empirically determine the impact that pricing practice management has on the performance and sustainability of supermarkets in the urban area of Enugu State, Nigeria. The study explicitly attempts to ascertain the impact of value-informed pricing practice, competition-informed pricing practice, and cost-informed pricing practice on supermarkets’ performance and sustainability in urban Enugu. The paper also examines the impact of adopting three different pricing practices when the relative product advantage and/or competitive intensity are/is moderating variable(s). With a population of 100 supermarkets, 48 responded to the questionnaire. A multiple regression analysis was utilized to test the hypothesis formulated for the study. The study found that the adoption of a value-informed pricing practice, competition-informed pricing practice, and cost-informed pricing practice by management has no significant impact, negatively significant impact, and positively significant impact, respectively, on supermarkets’ performance and sustainability in urban Enugu. The study also found that the impact of the three pricing practices on performance and sustainability of supermarkets in the urban area of Enugu State, changes significantly when relative product advantage and/or competitive intensity are/is moderating variable(s). Amongst others, this study recommends that the management of supermarkets should carry out an internal and external environmental assessment of a product before deciding on the appropriate pricing practice to adopt for that product. Critical consideration should be given to the relative product advantage and the competitive intensity of the product. Moreover, the adopted pricing practice must be situated within the overall performance objective of the firm in such a way that resources are optimized, and the maximum value attained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
The Effects of Market Competition, Capital Structure, and CEO Duality on Firm Performance: A Mediation Analysis by Incorporating the GMM Model Technique
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083480 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2662
Abstract
This current study is one of the few investigations to conduct a focalized examination of the relationship between CEO duality and firm performance; however, this relationship seems to be imprecise due to the impact of the invention mechanism. This study explores the effect [...] Read more.
This current study is one of the few investigations to conduct a focalized examination of the relationship between CEO duality and firm performance; however, this relationship seems to be imprecise due to the impact of the invention mechanism. This study explores the effect of CEO duality to achieve firm performance through the mediating effects of capital structure and market competition, which is an innovative model. The study incorporated the generalized method of moments (GMM) model to examine the proposed association of the CEO duality and firm performance, and the findings specified a negative relationship between CEO duality and firm performance. The results indicated that capital structure partially mediated the association between CEO duality and firm performance. The results also showed that market competition fully mediated this linkage between CEO duality and firm performance, which in turn specified a significant positive relationship with market competition, which mediated a positive relationship. By incorporating these mediators, the results determined that CEO duality reduces firm performance through the capital structure; however, it enhances firm performance by stimulating market competition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Joint Ventures between Online Portals and News Publishers: Will they be an Alternative to Symbiosis?
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3296; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083296 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Around the world, legacy news publishers are suffering from the deep decline of revenues and face the challenge of survival. As the situation continues, conflicts between online portal and news producers are also intensifying. Under these circumstances, Naver, the biggest internet portal in [...] Read more.
Around the world, legacy news publishers are suffering from the deep decline of revenues and face the challenge of survival. As the situation continues, conflicts between online portal and news producers are also intensifying. Under these circumstances, Naver, the biggest internet portal in Korea, and several Korean news publishers have begun to seek a new breakthrough—media joint ventures. The joint venture between online portals and news publishers is a unique collaboration model that has not been found in other countries. This study investigates the motivation of the media joint ventures and evaluates the performance. To do this, the study suggests the sustainability of media joint ventures. This model consists of five major categories of media joint ventures’ performances, based on their strategic, financial, learning, managerial, and social influence aspects. After conducting an in-depth interview of media joint ventures and a focus group interview with nine experts from the media industry and business scholarships, the study shows that the media joint ventures could be a new alternative for both portals and news publishers. However, there were some differences in the sustainability evaluation of the operating body of the joint venture and outside experts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Sustainable Career Development of Newly Hired Executives—A Dynamic Process Perspective
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3175; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083175 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 950
Abstract
While prior literature indicated the positive outcomes of successful executive successions for both individuals and organizations, we still know little about the influencing factors and mechanisms of successful executive successions from the individual perspectives of newly hired executives. As prior research of executive [...] Read more.
While prior literature indicated the positive outcomes of successful executive successions for both individuals and organizations, we still know little about the influencing factors and mechanisms of successful executive successions from the individual perspectives of newly hired executives. As prior research of executive succession suggested to consider the contextual change on the entire duration of executive employment, we adopted a qualitative research design to explore important experiences in the process of career development after an executive, who was newly hired from outside the company, joined a new organization with a dynamic perspective. Our goal was to help newly hired executives realize their career development process with key tasks and core competencies in distinct stages, in order to achieve sustainable career development in a new enterprise. There are also implications for enhancing process-oriented career development research and advancing career-development managerial practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Blockchain Technology Adoption Behavior and Sustainability of the Business in Tourism and Hospitality SMEs: An Empirical Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031256 - 10 Feb 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 4331
Abstract
This paper investigates the factors influencing the intention to adopt cryptocurrency payments among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in tourism and hospitality through the lens of the technology acceptance model (TAM). This paper uses an original sample of 101 SMEs employing a total [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the factors influencing the intention to adopt cryptocurrency payments among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in tourism and hospitality through the lens of the technology acceptance model (TAM). This paper uses an original sample of 101 SMEs employing a total of 15,831 people in Taiwan. Structural equation modeling is used to examine the joint effect of both internal and external factors influencing the intention to use cryptocurrency payments. Results show that (1) strategic orientation, owner/managers personal characteristics (self-efficacy and innovativeness) and social influence have a strong effect on the intention to adopt new technology; (2) perceived usefulness mediates the effects of strategic orientation and social influence; and (3) perceived ease of use mediates the effect of self-efficacy on the intention to adopt cryptocurrency payments. The present study is one of few empirical inquiries about cryptocurrency payment adoption among SMEs. This study extends the theoretical foundations of the TAM into the specific characteristics of SMEs. Limitations of the study are sample size and a single survey design. However, findings of this research on the cryptocurrency payment adoption offer practical implications for tourism stakeholders towards supporting SMEs competitiveness. The originality of this study is based on the fact that cryptocurrency payment is a new technology, and on the potential of cryptocurrency payments to disrupt the traditional way of operating tourism and hospitality SMEs. Hence the importance to consider major factors influencing SMEs’ intentions to adopt this technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Sustainable Business Model Based on Digital Twin Platform Network: The Inspiration from Haier’s Case Study in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030936 - 27 Jan 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3213
Abstract
Sustainability and digitalization have become the main direction of transformation of enterprises. Building a digital twin platform network can provide enterprises with a comprehensive view of products, manufacture, supply chain, customer experience, and profitability, which is conducive to the construction of a sustainable [...] Read more.
Sustainability and digitalization have become the main direction of transformation of enterprises. Building a digital twin platform network can provide enterprises with a comprehensive view of products, manufacture, supply chain, customer experience, and profitability, which is conducive to the construction of a sustainable business model. The purpose of this paper is to study how enterprises use digital twin platform networks to generate economic, social and environmental benefits in various dimensions and their coupling relationships. Based on the literature review, this paper constructs a five-dimensional framework of a sustainable business model, and analyses the coupling relationship between dimensions. Using Haier as a way to verify the five-dimensional framework, it explores the dynamic mechanism of the Haier digital twin platform network, constructs an integrated framework based on coupling perspective and compares it with other two home appliance enterprises. The study shows that, through the digital twin platform network, enterprises can remove the disadvantage of focusing on a single product life cycle, and form a comprehensive network, so as to promote overall sustainable upgrades. This paper draws generic strategies and digital transformation suggestions for enterprises to innovate the sustainable business model. The conclusion enriches the research on sustainable business models both theoretically and practically and provides a feasible reference for the transformation of enterprises in digital economy environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
How Job Autonomy Promotes Employee’s Sustainable Development? A Moderated Mediation Model
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6445; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226445 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1444
Abstract
In the rapidly changing business world, improving employee’s self-development level is of great importance for organizations to pursue sustainable development. The purpose of this study is to examine how and when job autonomy promotes employee’s self-development. Drawing from self-determination theory, we examined the [...] Read more.
In the rapidly changing business world, improving employee’s self-development level is of great importance for organizations to pursue sustainable development. The purpose of this study is to examine how and when job autonomy promotes employee’s self-development. Drawing from self-determination theory, we examined the effect of job autonomy on employee’s self-development, and the mediation role of intrinsic motivation in this relationship. Moreover, we argued that team connectivity strengthened the relationship between job autonomy and intrinsic motivation, and further moderated the indirect effect of job autonomy and self-employment via intrinsic motivation. Using a two-wave panel design, we collected data from a sample of 473 employees in China. The results indicated that job autonomy predicted employee’s self-development, and employee’s intrinsic motivation fully mediated this relationship. Team connectivity positively moderated the relationship between job autonomy and intrinsic motivation, and further moderated the mediation effect of intrinsic motivation. The theoretical and practical implications of this research are discussed along with the limitations and further research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Relationship between Corporate Sustainability and Compliance with State-Owned Enterprises in Central-Europe: A Case Study from Hungary
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5653; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205653 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1203
Abstract
Our study deals with the control of Hungarian state-owned business associations in order to find out whether there is any correlation between corporate sustainability and compliance. According to our hypothesis, the state has a greater responsibility for the sustainable operation of state-owned enterprises—one [...] Read more.
Our study deals with the control of Hungarian state-owned business associations in order to find out whether there is any correlation between corporate sustainability and compliance. According to our hypothesis, the state has a greater responsibility for the sustainable operation of state-owned enterprises—one of the tools of which can be the efficient construction of so-called compliance controls. A state-owned enterprise can be sustained in its operation and function by doing what it has been assigned to it as a task. The sustainable operation can be achieved through the use of circular feedback and continuous control. Corporate sustainability can be influenced by a number of factors that are crucial to the integrity and adequacy of companies. In our study, these are the Initial Hazard Factors (IHFs), Hazardous Increasing Factors (HIFs), and Control Enhancement Factors (CEFs), which were used in indexed form for testing. For the specific analysis, we used the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method to rank and evaluate risk avoidance options. We analyzed the practice of the State Audit Office of Hungary and its results and found that in the case of state-owned enterprises, the current Hungarian legal system does not contain uniform normative regulations that would regulate the control of conformity in a broader sense. As a result, corporate integrity and corporate compliance are also subject to a fragmented set of rules in different jurisdictions. This has a negative impact on the development of the company’s long-term, sustainable operating principles. Based on our research, a number of factors have been identified (including enterprise size and intensive use of EU funding resources) that may result in a loss of corporate sustainability but can be mitigated or even eliminated by creating an effective internal control environment. Based on literature analysis, most of the Hungarian phenomena are typical of the former socialist countries of Central Europe. The interpretation of sustainability—in transition management countries—for first-generation enterprises which were developed in a socialist market economy is quite different from the most developed countries of the European Union. The main reason for this is that generational rules do not yet exist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
The Causal Effect of Access to Finance on Productivity of Small and Medium Enterprises in Vietnam
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5451; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195451 - 01 Oct 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
In many developing countries, obtaining financial services at affordable rates and fair terms has been a significant challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, this issue has not been paid much attention in Vietnam, even though SMEs account for about 95% of [...] Read more.
In many developing countries, obtaining financial services at affordable rates and fair terms has been a significant challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, this issue has not been paid much attention in Vietnam, even though SMEs account for about 95% of total enterprises and the financial market of the country has not been well developed. This study investigates the causal effects of access to finance on productivity of SMEs operating in the manufacturing sector in Vietnam. Productivity was measured as the total factor productivity (TFP) obtained by production function estimation using the Levinsohn and Petrin approach. Regarding financial accessibility, two factors covered the extent to which firms might have a bank loan or overdraft facility were employed. To study the causal inferences of access to finance on firm productivity, the research adopted the difference-in-differences (DID) approach, as well as the propensity score matching (PSM) coupled with DID technique. The empirical results indicated that improving the financial accessibility could directly enhance firm productivity. Particularly, it was shown that firms having access to a bank loan could significantly improve TFP by approximately 8.6% in the DID model and about 9% in the PSM-DID model. Meanwhile, the firm average TFP increased by approximately 12.3% and 15.7% in simple DID and PSM-DID models, respectively, when firms had an overdraft facility. These findings suggest that the government should put more effort into assisting SMEs in generating bankable projects, and create a sound and healthy financial environment to stimulate firms’ access to finance, which will ensure their sustainability and growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
Article
Spatial Correlation Network of Format in the Central Districts of a Megacity: The Case of Shanghai
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195191 - 22 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 933
Abstract
The format of different industries within a city is an essential part of a megacity’s development and reflects its central districts’ economic characteristics and development trends. This study takes two central districts in the megacity of Shanghai as its research object and explores [...] Read more.
The format of different industries within a city is an essential part of a megacity’s development and reflects its central districts’ economic characteristics and development trends. This study takes two central districts in the megacity of Shanghai as its research object and explores the inter-spatial relationships among business format, as well as the mutual spatial relationships within the format network, using the quantitative and qualitative methods of case selection and spatial connectivity. Based on the degree of connectivity, the inter-related formats form a format model association network. Two related characteristics of a format type-related network are hierarchy and stability, and two levels are determined according to the importance of each format in the network: core dominant and non-core dominant. By exploring these relationships, the internal spatial correlation structure of format in the city center, and the hierarchy and systematization of each format, is explained. The results simultaneously contribute to the spatial planning of the central district and provide a valuable policy basis for urban planning managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Solutions for SMEs Challenged by CSR: A Multiple Cases Approach in the Food Industry within the DACH-Region
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4758; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174758 - 30 Aug 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Antecedent research has recognized a difference in the participation in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices between big companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Certain characteristics of SMEs create challenges which influence the manner with which they treat the CSR topic. However, literature [...] Read more.
Antecedent research has recognized a difference in the participation in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices between big companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Certain characteristics of SMEs create challenges which influence the manner with which they treat the CSR topic. However, literature has failed to provide solutions as to how these challenges can successfully be overcome or avoided by SMEs. In an attempt to contribute to these solutions, this paper explores the reasons why some SMEs face challenges as well as how such problems can be mastered. Furthermore, this article provides input that could encourage more SMEs to incorporate CSR practices into their business strategies. The research follows a qualitative approach; data being collected in 2018 through a total of 12 interviews with managers of SMEs in the food industry within the DACH-region as well as with experts in the field of study. The paper reveals that if the managers and owners of SMEs become committed towards CSR and if sufficient resources are allocated and advice on how to implement CSR is obtained, the opportunity certainly exists to persuade larger numbers of SMEs to adopt CSR practices as a core company strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Entrepreneurial Resources, Complementary Assets, and Platform Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4359; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164359 - 12 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
This paper applies grounded theory to explore the formation of platform leadership and its reputation through a single case study analysis of a Chinese energy internet platform enterprise CZB (Che Zhu Bang). Initially, CZB was a follower in China’s internet energy market. After [...] Read more.
This paper applies grounded theory to explore the formation of platform leadership and its reputation through a single case study analysis of a Chinese energy internet platform enterprise CZB (Che Zhu Bang). Initially, CZB was a follower in China’s internet energy market. After clarifying and acquiring the entrepreneurial resources and the complementary assets it needed, CZB quickly established an energy internet platform and its platform leadership in two years. The research shows the mechanism by which the entrepreneurial resources and complementary assets affect the evolution of the platform leadership, the interaction between platform leadership and its reputation, and in the end, how platform reputation influences platform sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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U.S. Sustainable Food Market Generation Z Consumer Segments
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133607 - 30 Jun 2019
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 12127
Abstract
This study explores the interaction between environmental consciousness and sustainable food attributes as predictors in the market segmentation process for sustainable foods with respect to United States (U.S.) Generation Z (Gen Z) consumers. This study was executed using a cross-national, web-based survey to [...] Read more.
This study explores the interaction between environmental consciousness and sustainable food attributes as predictors in the market segmentation process for sustainable foods with respect to United States (U.S.) Generation Z (Gen Z) consumers. This study was executed using a cross-national, web-based survey to analyze and categorize Gen Z female (n = 435) and male (n = 377) consumers between 18 and 23 years of age living in the continental United States. The objectives of this study were to classify U.S. Gen Z consumers into unique segments based on their environmental consciousness and to assess the functional relationships among the following: (a) their degree of ecological awareness; (b) the importance of the perception of sustainable food attributes; (c) their food choices associated with healthy eating habits; and (d) sociodemographics. Survey data were analyzed using cluster analysis of consumer groups based on environmental consciousness. Environmental consciousness was measured using a composite score of the environmental involvement scale and the environmental values scale. Gen Z consumers with high environmental consciousness (sustainable activists) and moderate ecological awareness (sustainable believers) considered more eco-friendly and healthy product attributes when purchasing sustainable food, whereas Gen Z consumers with low environmental consciousness (sustainable moderates) considered more extrinsic product attributes (e.g., price and convenience). Furthermore, the results indicate that food choices associated with healthy eating habits could be used to develop a profile for different eco-conscious Gen Z consumer groups. The contributions of this study are twofold. First, for academic researchers, this paper extends marketing segmentation research concerning environmentally sensitive young consumers. Second, for industry professionals, this study provides food retailers or food service operators with sustainable consumer values that will aid in the development of effective, green marketing strategies to better attract and meet the sustainability expectations of Gen Z—the consumer segment with the most spending power of any generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
Article
Effectiveness of Diversification Strategies for Ensuring Financial Sustainability of Construction Companies in the Republic of Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113076 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1385
Abstract
Construction companies recognize diversification as a strategy for ensuring financial sustainability. Hence, the aim of this study was to analyze the dynamic relationship between business diversification and business performance of construction companies using the vector error correction model. The expected default frequency, diversification [...] Read more.
Construction companies recognize diversification as a strategy for ensuring financial sustainability. Hence, the aim of this study was to analyze the dynamic relationship between business diversification and business performance of construction companies using the vector error correction model. The expected default frequency, diversification index, domestic construction order, international construction order, gross Domestic Product, Korea composite stock price index, and interest rate were defined as analytical variables. To derive implications for diversification strategies, construction companies were classified into two groups according to the diversification level, and analyzed from the first quarter of 2001 to the fourth quarter of 2017. The results confirm that the dynamic relationship between the diversification strategy and business performance depends on the diversification level of the company. For changes in the markets entered for diversification, construction companies showed different ways of executing the diversification strategy depending on the group; this was partially because of differences in internal and external capabilities of companies, and each company responded differently to market changes. To ensure financial sustainability of a construction company through effective diversification, various conditions must be considered before deciding what impact the diversification strategy could have on the business performance of the company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Sustainable Developmental Evaluation of Foreign Trade Based on Emergy Analysis Method in Shenzhen City, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3035; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113035 - 29 May 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1230
Abstract
The foreign trade sustainable development index system of Shenzhen City, including the three subsystems of environment, economy, and society, was constructed based on the theory of emergy analysis. The sustainable development of foreign trade in Shenzhen City from 2009 to 2016 was evaluated, [...] Read more.
The foreign trade sustainable development index system of Shenzhen City, including the three subsystems of environment, economy, and society, was constructed based on the theory of emergy analysis. The sustainable development of foreign trade in Shenzhen City from 2009 to 2016 was evaluated, and a detailed analysis of changes in the emergy of light and heavy industries was performed. The results showed that the scale of economy has been expanding, and the total volume of imports and exports has turned from a rise to a decline in 2013. The status of sustainable development is not optimistic. The transaction volume of energy is reduced, and the quality of people’s living environment is declining. The sustainable development of Shenzhen City is not perfect, but it is in a phase of gradual optimization. Moreover, the proportion of heavy industry in import and export trade is significantly higher than that of light industry, which has caused the outflow of energy to a certain extent. Therefore, to improve the level of foreign trade sustainable development, the efficiency of resource utilization must be improved. The import of energy products must be increased, the ability to cope with external interference must be strengthened, and the foreign trade industrial structure must be adjusted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Determinants of Smallholders’ Market Preferences: The Case of Sustainable Certified Coffee Farmers in Vietnam
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102897 - 22 May 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
This study attempts to analyze the market preference of coffee farmers in Vietnam. Using the transaction cost approach, a seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) model was developed based on the sales volume in different markets, transaction cost attributes, socioeconomic factors, and behavioral aspects of [...] Read more.
This study attempts to analyze the market preference of coffee farmers in Vietnam. Using the transaction cost approach, a seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) model was developed based on the sales volume in different markets, transaction cost attributes, socioeconomic factors, and behavioral aspects of sustainable certified coffee farmers. Factors that significantly influence farmers’ market preference include several transaction cost attributes (price uncertainty, market competition, transportation cost, speed of payment, and sale volume agreement) and characteristics of coffee farmers (age, ethnic, farming experience, location, and certificate ownership). Repeated economic transaction embedded in the social relationship indicates the largest sales volume of coffee farmers to the market of buying agents and the existence of local traders. There is a belief that formal institution brings better market access for coffee farmers, but main issues are regarding opportunistic behavior, imperfect market knowledge, traditional farming habits, and contract noncompliance, which have resulted in a lower preference for the market of processors/exporters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Assessing Airbnb Logistics in Cities: Geographic Information System and Convenience Theory
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092462 - 26 Apr 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
City managers and planners seek insights into Airbnb logistics in cities for the purposes of effective lodging management. This requires managers and planners to gain a holistic understanding of Airbnb geographic dynamics, which has drawn limited attention in the literature. To fill this [...] Read more.
City managers and planners seek insights into Airbnb logistics in cities for the purposes of effective lodging management. This requires managers and planners to gain a holistic understanding of Airbnb geographic dynamics, which has drawn limited attention in the literature. To fill this gap, this paper explored Airbnb supply and logistics in three cities (New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago) through the lenses of geographic clustering and location convenience. We explored the spatial allocations of Airbnb supply in cities and investigated Airbnb’s influencing factors at the census tract level, utilizing spatial regression models. The results showed that (1) the spatial distribution of Airbnb supply in all three cities has a clear center-peripheral pattern, indicating that Airbnb allocations predominate in the central area of the city; (2) the number of housing units and points of interest (POI) have an influential impact on Airbnb supply for three cities; (3) the proportion of youth population and employment has a positive effect on Airbnb supply in NYC and Chicago, but not in LA, while the distance to the city center negatively affects Airbnb supply in LA and Chicago, but not in NYC; (4) the income has a mixed effect on Airbnb supply in three cities, while the proportion of African Americans and education level has only a positive effect on Airbnb supply in NYC; and (5) rent is not associated with Airbnb supply for all three cities, which indicates that the Airbnb explosion may not contribute to rent increases in cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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How Social Interaction Affects Purchase Intention in Social Commerce: A Cultural Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2423; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082423 - 24 Apr 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3087
Abstract
In the context of social commerce, the influence of culture on consumers’ behavior and attitude is more significant. This paper empirically analyzes the influence of social interaction (perceived risk, trust, and intimacy) on consumers’ purchase intention in social commerce, and the antecedent effect [...] Read more.
In the context of social commerce, the influence of culture on consumers’ behavior and attitude is more significant. This paper empirically analyzes the influence of social interaction (perceived risk, trust, and intimacy) on consumers’ purchase intention in social commerce, and the antecedent effect of cultural dimensions (uncertainty avoidance and individualism/collectivism) on social interaction is also explored. Data were collected in China and France from consumers who had prior online shopping experience on social commerce websites. The results show that the impact of perceived risk on subsequent purchase intention in social commerce will be transferred by trust and intimacy to a certain extent. The intimacy between users contributes to trust-building, and both of their positive impacts on purchase intention would show distinct effects in different cultures. Besides, cultural dimensions are proved to have a significant effect on users’ social interaction. Although high uncertainty avoidance brings perceived risk, it can promote subsequent trust-building. These findings help provide managerial insights for social commerce community to establish effective trust mechanism in a multicultural context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Corporate Community Involvement and Chinese Rural Tourist Destination Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1574; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061574 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1277
Abstract
Although rural tourism enterprises have played crucial roles in the prosperity of tourist destinations, environmental contamination due to corporate behaviour is also an important issue to consider. In this study, we introduce corporate community involvement theory to explore the antecedents and contingency effects [...] Read more.
Although rural tourism enterprises have played crucial roles in the prosperity of tourist destinations, environmental contamination due to corporate behaviour is also an important issue to consider. In this study, we introduce corporate community involvement theory to explore the antecedents and contingency effects of corporate green behaviour for tourist destination sustainability from the perspective of tourism corporate social responsibility. Using first-hand survey data collected in Guangdong and Anhui provinces, and matching second-hand data from the statistical yearbook and tourist destination government work reports, we found that corporate community involvement has a positive impact on the green behaviour of rural tourism enterprises. This association is moderated by place identity and the gross tourism receipts of destinations. By doing so, this research extends the scope of tourism environmental governance from ‘the bottom’ (for tourists) to ‘the top’ (for tourism enterprises). Meanwhile, this research provides feasible advice to policymakers by highlighting the coordination value of enterprises’ initiative strategies (e.g., corporate community involvement) and destination contingency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Adaptability of Inter-Organizational Information Systems Based on Organizational Identity: Some Factors of Partnership for the Goals
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1436; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051436 - 08 Mar 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1359
Abstract
Given the current trade friction between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) may slow down in some areas in both countries, and there is a need for organizations to understand [...] Read more.
Given the current trade friction between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) may slow down in some areas in both countries, and there is a need for organizations to understand more of the factors that affect the adaptability of inter-organization information systems (AIOISs) in order to support the 17th Sustainable Development Goal. This research proposes a new model for the adaptability of IOISs based on organizational identity. The hypotheses for this research were deduced from the literature in order to identify and extract the factors for adaptability and partnership. Subsequently, a conceptual model has been developed and empirically tested using the data from 259 samples. The exploratory and confirmatory analysis showed that organizational learning mechanisms (OLM) and knowledge sharing (KS) have a significant positive effect on the identity of multi-organization alliances (IMOAs), and on the adaptability of IOISs, as well as indirectly affecting the adaptability of IOISs through the mediating role of the identity of the multi-organization alliance. In addition, organizational collaboration (OC), commitment, and trust have a significant positive effect on the identity of a multi-organization alliance, whereas there is no direct relationship between organizational collaboration, commitment, trust, and the adaptability of the IOIS. Lastly, the mediating roles of IMOA on AIOIS are supported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Entrepreneurial Leadership and Turnover Intention in Startups: Mediating Roles of Employees’ Job Embeddedness, Job Satisfaction and Affective Commitment
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041101 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3061
Abstract
Entrepreneurial leadership is critical for the sustainable development of start-ups and plays a key role in employees’ turnover intentions. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between entrepreneurial leadership and turnover intentions of employees within enterprises established in the last [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurial leadership is critical for the sustainable development of start-ups and plays a key role in employees’ turnover intentions. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between entrepreneurial leadership and turnover intentions of employees within enterprises established in the last five years. This paper explored this relationship through multiple serial mediators, specifically, employee affective commitment, job embeddedness, and job satisfaction. A quantitative approach was employed on a sample of 403 participants from 62 ventures. The results demonstrated that entrepreneurial leadership can reduce employee turnover intentions, and the impact is through job embeddedness, job satisfaction, and affective commitment, in series. This study is the first try of a three-serial-mediator model for the relationship between entrepreneurial leadership and turnover intentions, and it leads to a better understanding of the significance of entrepreneurial leadership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Strengthen Financial Holding Companies’ Business Sustainability by Using a Hybrid Corporate Governance Evaluation Model
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030582 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1929
Abstract
While the importance of corporate governance has been broadly acknowledged in global financial markets and academic research, how to devise a practical evaluation system is relatively unexplored. This paper attempts to refine the Corporate Governance Evaluation System (CGES), constructed by the Taiwan Stock [...] Read more.
While the importance of corporate governance has been broadly acknowledged in global financial markets and academic research, how to devise a practical evaluation system is relatively unexplored. This paper attempts to refine the Corporate Governance Evaluation System (CGES), constructed by the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) since 2014. The current CGES has several debatable issues in its complicated design (e.g., it comprises over 80 indicators in different types). To resolve those issues, this study invited ten senior domain experts (including several CEOs of financial holding companies) to retrieve 13 essential criteria from the CGES in four dimensions. Additionally, this study integrates several multiple criteria decision-making (MCDM) methods (i.e., decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL), modified VIKOR, DEMATEL-based analytical network process (DANP)) and the fuzzy evaluation technique to rank the exemplary companies. The final ranking is consistent with the one released from the CGES in 2017. This study conducted additional experiments to ensure the robustness of the findings. The newly devised model not only assists the ranking decisions but also supports a company in discussing the plausible action plans to strengthen corporate governance based on the analytics. These findings enrich the understanding of corporate governance and contribute to gaining business sustainability for financial holding companies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Analysis on Consumers’ Purchase and Shopping Well-Being in Online Shopping Carnivals with Two Motivational Dimensions
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4603; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124603 - 05 Dec 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2335
Abstract
The development of online shopping carnivals (OSCs) is in full bloom due to the support of logistics industry and information technology. More and more people are keen to participate in them. This study contributes to literature by exploring the role of motivational factors [...] Read more.
The development of online shopping carnivals (OSCs) is in full bloom due to the support of logistics industry and information technology. More and more people are keen to participate in them. This study contributes to literature by exploring the role of motivational factors (based on utilitarian and hedonic shopping values dimension) of the intention to participate in the actual purchase behavior of consumers and their shopping well-being in OSC. A model is developed and tested to explain consumers’ shopping process in the context of OSC. Results show that hedonic shopping values are primarily influenced by entertainment construct, and utilitarian shopping values are positively related to monetary saving, selection, and convenience. Furthermore, the correlation between hedonic shopping value and intention to participate is higher than that between utilitarian shopping value and intention to participate. The findings indicate that intention to participate in OSC exerts a stronger influence on shopping well-being than the effect on actual purchases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Profit Distribution in Guaranteed Savings Contracts: Determination Based on the Collar Option Model
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16273-16289; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71215816 - 08 Dec 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2817
Abstract
This paper seeks to determine the value of Energy Service Company (ESCO) contracts based on the guaranteed savings contracts, which are relatively widely used among ESCO contract models. A framework is proposed based on the collar option model to qualitatively calculate the profit [...] Read more.
This paper seeks to determine the value of Energy Service Company (ESCO) contracts based on the guaranteed savings contracts, which are relatively widely used among ESCO contract models. A framework is proposed based on the collar option model to qualitatively calculate the profit distribution ratio between energy users and the ESCO. The profit distribution model is defined with the guaranteed and target savings, changes in energy cost reductions, and volatility. The model determines a profit distribution ratio such that the energy user offers the ESCO profits equivalent to the value of the guarantee. The model is evaluated using a case study. The model suggested in this study is expected to resolve previous issues with making decisions based on past experiences, as the profit distribution ratio is determined objectively. Moreover, it is possible to effectively assess various profit structures in guaranteed savings contracts according to changes in the guaranteed and target savings. Ultimately, this model is expected to assist in revitalizing the Korean ESCO market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Developing a Mystery Shopping Measure to Operate a Sustainable Restaurant Business: The Power of Integrating with Corporate Executive Members’ Feedback
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12279-12294; https://doi.org/10.3390/su70912279 - 08 Sep 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3539
Abstract
Mystery shopping has been used to objectively measure whether employees follow the visions of a company’s quality service standards. It then creates a feedback loop that allows companies to train their employees to consistently deliver quality services. The main purposes of this project [...] Read more.
Mystery shopping has been used to objectively measure whether employees follow the visions of a company’s quality service standards. It then creates a feedback loop that allows companies to train their employees to consistently deliver quality services. The main purposes of this project are aimed at examining (1) the overall benefits of mystery shopper projects in the hospitality business through literature reviews; and (2) the importance of how a company can work with an outside agency (consultant, academic institution, etc.) to develop a mystery shopping program that can enhance and complement ongoing service quality programs. A casual steakhouse restaurant in the Eastern U.S. was selected as our pilot project. The basic concept of using secret shoppers is to have individuals experience real-time and onsite quality of services and record how the mystery shoppers felt about the quality of services and if the employees met or exceeded the company’s standards. For this reason, the authors believe that mystery shopping, especially in hospitality, is an important means of developing and maintaining a sustainable business. While the sustainability of a business is largely dependent upon “people, profits and planet” in the hospitality industry, it is also dependent upon meeting service standards and developing a feedback loop. Mystery shopping programs have demonstrated their ability to contribute to organizations in this regard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
Article
Collar Option Model for Managing the Cost Overrun Caused by Change Orders
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10649-10663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su70810649 - 07 Aug 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3010
Abstract
Effective change order management is very important in maintaining the financial sustainability of various stakeholders related to construction projects by minimizing cost overruns. In this study, we propose a zero-cost risk management approach based on the collar option model in order to control [...] Read more.
Effective change order management is very important in maintaining the financial sustainability of various stakeholders related to construction projects by minimizing cost overruns. In this study, we propose a zero-cost risk management approach based on the collar option model in order to control for the loss caused by change orders, the main cause of cost overruns in construction projects. We apply this model to actual projects for empirical analysis. The analysis, based on 237 projects, indicates that insurance buyers benefit from the collar option model in 46% of the cases, while insurance sellers do so in 53% of the cases. In most cases, the insurance buyer is the owner. According to the model, the owner experiences a loss when the cost overrun caused by change orders is lower than what was expected. In such cases, it is appropriate to conclude that the loss is not caused by the collar option model, but by the absence of additional revenue. However, the insurance seller suffers a loss if the cost overrun is higher than the strike price of the call option. Thus, the insurance seller needs to have expertise in construction management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Analysis on the Relationship between Green Accounting and Green Design for Enterprises
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6264-6277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056264 - 21 May 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5509
Abstract
Green design is advocated and developed in response to the increasingly deteriorating global environment, but its implementation is only based on the morality of the entrepreneurs, without economic incentive and legal restraint. As a result, green design has not been widely adopted. In [...] Read more.
Green design is advocated and developed in response to the increasingly deteriorating global environment, but its implementation is only based on the morality of the entrepreneurs, without economic incentive and legal restraint. As a result, green design has not been widely adopted. In recent years, the European countries, the U.S., Japan, the UN and Taiwan have successively promoted environmental accounting guidelines and required enterprises to disclose environmental improvement information, so as to improve the environment through production that will unavoidably impact product manufacturing. How product design should respond to this trend is a concern of this study. This study adopted the KJ (Kawakita Jiro) method and the meta-research method to analyze the influence factors. Then, it was discussed whether green design is feasible. The results showed that the requirements of green accounting include: expanding corporate social responsibility, production cannot be exempted from environmental protection, the manufacturing of clean products can generate pollution, the external production cost should be internalized, the redesign to improve the product production process and packaging, reducing resource waste and implementing the (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) 3R policy, lifecycle assessment for all assessments and developing environmentally-friendly products, which can be solved with green design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Key Determinant Derivations for Information Technology Disaster Recovery Site Selection by the Multi-Criterion Decision Making Method
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6149-6188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7056149 - 20 May 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3959
Abstract
Disaster recovery sites are an important mechanism in continuous IT system operations. Such mechanisms can sustain IT availability and reduce business losses during natural or human-made disasters. Concerning the cost and risk aspects, the IT disaster-recovery site selection problems are multi-criterion decision making [...] Read more.
Disaster recovery sites are an important mechanism in continuous IT system operations. Such mechanisms can sustain IT availability and reduce business losses during natural or human-made disasters. Concerning the cost and risk aspects, the IT disaster-recovery site selection problems are multi-criterion decision making (MCDM) problems in nature. For such problems, the decision aspects include the availability of the service, recovery time requirements, service performance, and more. The importance and complexities of IT disaster recovery sites increases with advances in IT and the categories of possible disasters. The modern IT disaster recovery site selection process requires further investigation. However, very few researchers tried to study related issues during past years based on the authors’ extremely limited knowledge. Thus, this paper aims to derive the aspects and criteria for evaluating and selecting a modern IT disaster recovery site. A hybrid MCDM framework consisting of the Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) and the Analytic Network Process (ANP) will be proposed to construct the complex influence relations between aspects as well as criteria and further, derive weight associated with each aspect and criteria. The criteria with higher weight can be used for evaluating and selecting the most suitable IT disaster recovery sites. In the future, the proposed analytic framework can be used for evaluating and selecting a disaster recovery site for data centers by public institutes or private firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
The Evolution of Shea Butter's "Paradox of paradoxa" and the Potential Opportunity for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Improve Quality, Market Access and Women's Livelihoods across Rural Africa
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5752-5772; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055752 - 08 May 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5163
Abstract
Shea trees grow across 4 million km2 of sub-Saharan Africa. Shea parklands provide a sustainable source of edible fat (shea butter) that, in terms of volume, is currently second only to cocoa butter as a vegetal source of stearic acid in the [...] Read more.
Shea trees grow across 4 million km2 of sub-Saharan Africa. Shea parklands provide a sustainable source of edible fat (shea butter) that, in terms of volume, is currently second only to cocoa butter as a vegetal source of stearic acid in the multi-billion dollar chocolate and cosmetic sectors. However, in terms of international trade, shea has been opaque to consumers of edible products (where the majority of shea exports end their global journey) and actually only well-known in western markets as a cosmetic ingredient. The millions of women collectors have been disconnected from global supply chains, as the majority of their sheanuts are factory processed, supplied by traders who, in many cases, do not understand quality issues nor share knowledge with their village-based collectors—this is the “Paradox of paradoxa”. This review provides the background to this issue by contextualizing the industry and describing how weak post-harvest quality control impacts the shea supply chain. The paper then explains how this knowledge was incorporated into a 3D animation available for free transmission to rural African audiences and viewing on portable devices like video capable mobile phones. This tool offers the potential of low-cost multiple benefits to users, which we term here a win-cubed [win3] opportunity, where women collectors can receive free knowledge of using less resources to produce higher quality shea kernels which in turn offer higher extraction yields, lowering production costs, of a better and more marketable product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Labor Union Effects on Innovation and Commercialization Productivity: An Integrated Propensity Score Matching and Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5120-5138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7055120 - 27 Apr 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4255
Abstract
Research and development (R&D) is a critical factor in sustaining a firm’s competitive advantage. Accurate measurement of R&D productivity and investigation of its influencing factors are of value for R&D productivity improvements. This study is divided into two sections. The first section outlines [...] Read more.
Research and development (R&D) is a critical factor in sustaining a firm’s competitive advantage. Accurate measurement of R&D productivity and investigation of its influencing factors are of value for R&D productivity improvements. This study is divided into two sections. The first section outlines the innovation and commercialization stages of firm-level R&D activities. This section analyzes the productivity of each stage using a propensity score matching (PSM) and two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) integrated model to solve the selection bias problem. Second, this study conducts a comparative analysis among subgroups categorized as labor unionized or non-labor unionized on productivity at each stage. We used Korea Innovation Survey (KIS) data for analysis using a sample of 400 Korean manufacturers. The key findings of this study include: (1) firm innovation and commercialization productivity are balanced and show relatively low innovation productivity; and (2) labor unions have a positive effect on commercialization productivity. Moreover, labor unions are an influential factor in determining manufacturing firms’ commercialization productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Sustainable Innovation, Management Accounting and Control Systems, and International Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 3479-3492; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7033479 - 23 Mar 2015
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 6457
Abstract
This study analyzes how Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS) facilitate the appropriation of the benefits of sustainable innovations in organizations. In particular, this paper examines the moderating role of different types of MACS in the relationships between sustainable innovation and international performance [...] Read more.
This study analyzes how Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS) facilitate the appropriation of the benefits of sustainable innovations in organizations. In particular, this paper examines the moderating role of different types of MACS in the relationships between sustainable innovation and international performance at an organizational level. We collected survey data from 123 Spanish and Portuguese organizations. Partial Least Square was used to analyze the data. Results show that the effect of sustainable innovations on international performance is enhanced by contemporary rather than traditional types of MACS. Overall our findings show that MACS can help managers to develop and monitor organizational activities (e.g., costumer services and distribution activities), which support the appropriation of the potential benefits from sustainable innovation. This paper responds to recent calls for in-depth studies about the organizational mechanism that may enhance the success of sustainable innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Retail Services and Pricing Decisions in a Closed-Loop Supply Chain with Remanufacturing
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2373-2396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7032373 - 27 Feb 2015
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 3386
Abstract
Environmental and social responsibilities have led many manufacturers to used products recovery. Meanwhile, many manufacturers nowadays sell products via indirect retailer channels and direct Internet channels. This paper models a dual-channel closed-loop supply chain to improve the sustainability of products. We apply the [...] Read more.
Environmental and social responsibilities have led many manufacturers to used products recovery. Meanwhile, many manufacturers nowadays sell products via indirect retailer channels and direct Internet channels. This paper models a dual-channel closed-loop supply chain to improve the sustainability of products. We apply the two-stage optimization technique and the Nash game to examine the impacts of the retail services and the degree of customer loyalty to the retail channel on the pricing of players in a centralized and a decentralized dual-channel supply chain. Our results show that the retail services have a great impact on the manufacturer and the retailer’s pricing strategies. We also compare the differences of pricing strategies between a centralized and a decentralized dual-channel supply chain and suggest the optimal retail services and pricing decisions for the players in the supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Sustainable Development for Solar Heating Systems in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1970-1984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7021970 - 12 Feb 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3127
Abstract
In response to the impact of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing and using renewable energy sources and technologies have become vital for managing energy supply and demand in Taiwan. The long-term subsidy programs (1986–1991, 2000–present) for solar water heaters [...] Read more.
In response to the impact of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing and using renewable energy sources and technologies have become vital for managing energy supply and demand in Taiwan. The long-term subsidy programs (1986–1991, 2000–present) for solar water heaters (SWHs) launched by the Taiwanese government constitute the main driving force for market expansion. By the end of 2013, the cumulative area of installed solar collectors was 2.27 million m2. Approximately 0.3 million systems (or 1.545 million m2) are in operation. This corresponds to an annual collector yield of 0.92 TWh, which is equivalent to savings of 98.7 thousand tons of oil and 319 thousand tons of CO2,eq. The market-driven mechanism is associated with cost-to-benefit ratios, construction businesses, types of building architecture, degree of urbanization and household composition. The strong wind load of typhoons is another major concern. For sustaining the solar thermal industry in Taiwan, the dominant factor for disseminating SWHs in metropolitan areas involves developing building-integrated solar thermal systems. Alternative financial incentives are required for industrial heating processes in the commercial sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
Barriers to Business Model Innovation in Swedish Agriculture
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1957-1969; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7021957 - 11 Feb 2015
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 5999
Abstract
Swedish agricultural companies, especially small farms, are struggling to be profitable in difficult economic times. It is a challenge for Swedish farmers to compete with imported products on prices. The agricultural industry, however, supports the view that through business model innovation, farms can [...] Read more.
Swedish agricultural companies, especially small farms, are struggling to be profitable in difficult economic times. It is a challenge for Swedish farmers to compete with imported products on prices. The agricultural industry, however, supports the view that through business model innovation, farms can increase their competitive advantage. This paper identifies and describes some of the barriers Swedish small farms encounter when they consider business model innovation. A qualitative approach is used in the study. Agriculture business consultants were interviewed. In a focus group led by the researchers, farmers discussed business model innovation, including the exogenous and endogenous barriers to such innovation. The paper concludes many barriers exist when farmers consider innovation of agricultural business models. Some barriers are caused by human factors, such as individuals’ attitudes, histories, and traditions. Other barriers are more contextual in nature and relate to a particular industry or company setting. Still other barriers, such as government regulations, value chain position, and weather, are more abstract. All barriers, however, merit attention when Swedish agricultural companies develop new business models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Article
The Environmental, Social, Governance, and Financial Performance Effects on Companies that Adopt the United Nations Global Compact
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1932-1956; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7021932 - 11 Feb 2015
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 6047
Abstract
This paper aims to investigate companies’ environmental, social, governance (ESG), and financial implications of their commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The focus is placed on companies operating in the three countries with the highest number of UNGC participants: Spain, France, [...] Read more.
This paper aims to investigate companies’ environmental, social, governance (ESG), and financial implications of their commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The focus is placed on companies operating in the three countries with the highest number of UNGC participants: Spain, France, and Japan. The results clearly reveal that adoption of the UNGC often requires an organizational change that fosters stakeholder engagement, ultimately resulting in improvements in companies’ ESG performance. Additionally, the results reveal that ESG performance has a significant impact on financial performance for companies that adopted the principles of the UNGC. These findings provide both non-financial and financial incentives to companies to commit to this voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, which will have important implications on companies’ strategic management policies that aim to foster sustainable businesses and community development. Finally, the linkages between the UNGC-committed companies’ ESG and financial performance may be influenced by geographical spread, mainly due to the appearance of differences in the institutional, societal, and cultural settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Review

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Review
Managing Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Efficiently: A Review of Existing Literature on Business Groups and Networks
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7722; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187722 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1229
Abstract
Given the global relevance of business groups (BG) and networks as efficient organizational forms for corporate sustainability and responsibility systems (CSR), and seeing that management control systems (MCS) play a pivotal role in transmitting authority to CSR and formalizing a sustainability organizational culture, [...] Read more.
Given the global relevance of business groups (BG) and networks as efficient organizational forms for corporate sustainability and responsibility systems (CSR), and seeing that management control systems (MCS) play a pivotal role in transmitting authority to CSR and formalizing a sustainability organizational culture, this paper aims to review the available literature in order to investigate efficient adoptions of CSR by BGs or networks. Both organizational forms have positive effects on CSR development, on three levels: (a) setting industry standards (macro—external environment); (b) stimulating sustainability-oriented innovations (mezzo—member firms); (c) reputational gains, CSR expenses mitigation, and optimization of organizational capabilities (micro—individual SMEs). The studies on SMEs were useful in identifying current sustainability practices: both partial (social, environmental) and complete sustainability systems were susceptible to being integrated with management accounting, making them an almost implicit tool for proper CSR. Finally, by gathering the empirical literature on sustainability transitions of networks and groups, it was possible to trace a comprehensive introductory plan that operators could resort to for initial guidance. The six steps of this process are (1) project initiation, (2) preliminary actions, (3) change management decision, (4) firm-level activities, (5) auditing, (6) transition to territorial social responsibility (optional). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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Review
Present State and Trends of the Geoinformation Industry in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(3), 2871-2884; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7032871 - 09 Mar 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2644
Abstract
The geoinformation industry is a high-tech service industry based on modern surveying and mapping technologies, remote sensing technologies and satellite navigation and positioning technologies. In China, the geoinformation industry is an emerging strategic industry that has rapidly developed; it has played an increasingly [...] Read more.
The geoinformation industry is a high-tech service industry based on modern surveying and mapping technologies, remote sensing technologies and satellite navigation and positioning technologies. In China, the geoinformation industry is an emerging strategic industry that has rapidly developed; it has played an increasingly important role in the economy and society. This essay briefly introduces the present state of the international geoinformation industry. The state of the geoinformation industry enterprises in China from 2011 to 2013 is introduced. Although this industry has greatly progressed in China, problems and limitations still exist. The structure of the industry is not sustainable. The innovation capacity of Chinese enterprises is weak. Various market demands, increasing social investments, rapid progress in surveying, mapping and geoinformation technology and attention from the government are the main driving factors in this industry. Developing trends in the industry are proposed. Overall, the government will remain the main user of geoinformation applications, and enterprises will continue to merge and reorganize. Mobile geoinformation applications have broad prospects, and new business models will continue to emerge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development II)
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