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The Role of Digital Technologies in Supporting Sustainable Business Model Innovation

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 (15 October 2022) | Viewed by 8939

Special Issue Editors

Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: innovation; open innovation; business model innovation; sustainability; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: open Innovation; circular economy; entrepreneurship
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: innovation and entrepreneurship; knowledge management; technology transfer; complex network; SNA
Centro Direzionale di Napoli, Department of Engineering, University of Naples Parthenope, 80143 Naples, Italy
Interests: entrepreneurship; reverse supply chain; circular economy; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, 80125 Napoli NA, Italy
Interests: circular economy; WEEE management processes; sustainability; innovation, entrepreneurship, digital technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Economics, Science and Law, University of San Marino, Via Consiglio dei Sessanta, 99 - 47891 Dogana (RSM), San Marino
Interests: innovative startups and SMEs, business models, open innovation, digitalization, sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The introduction of digital technologies and, more generally, the digitalization process has revolutionized the way business is conducted, allowing companies to revise or extend their portfolio of products and services and inevitably influencing the way they manage relationships with stakeholders [1]. In fact, with regard to stakeholder relations, a new concept has recently begun to emerge, namely that of sustainability, in particular declined in its three fundamental pillars: economic, social and environmental. As a result, now the focus is no longer solely on economic performance but also on the social and environmental aspects. Increasingly, in fact, organizations should create value for themselves, for their customers, and for the whole community, without impacting negatively on the environment.

Since 2016, the United Nations has been developing an agenda aimed at sustainable progress with the aim of transforming our world by 2030. In this ambitious project, digital technologies play a key role allowing a faster achievement of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals [2], as well as the development of social innovative solutions able to tackle major social issues [3]. Specifically, although the digital revolution is accelerating the pace of this transition towards more social and sustainable models, new digital technologies are not able to completely disrupt industries through the process of digital transformation. In fact, for this to happen, new business models that combine digital technologies with new market needs must be introduced and adopted. Even though there are multiple definitions of business model, it generally describes how a company creates and captures value by allocating and deploying the resources at its disposal as efficiently as possible [4]. Within a given industry, a company's business model emerges over time and consolidates as the industry matures. It changes dramatically only if a major disruption occurs within that industry, such as the advent of a new radical technology. In an increasingly turbulent environment, companies must combine the digital transformation process with the trend towards social and environmental sustainability, changing their business model accordingly [5]. The authors in [6, p. 6] state, in fact, that "appropriate business models are crucial to derive the benefits from digital technology economically, environmentally, and socially". As a result, the interest in sustainable business models by both the scientific community and practitioners has surged. However, research on how companies are changing their business models to integrate the new digital reality and the need for a more sustainable use of resources is still in its infancy, calling for further investigation.

For this reason, our Special Issue aims to fill this gap by providing theoretical, conceptual and empirical studies on the role of digital technologies in supporting social and sustainable innovations. In particular, the scope of this Special Issue is related to investigating those strategies, approaches and methods employed to properly identify sustainable business model innovations in different industries and contexts.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Identification of strategies, methods and approaches able to support organizations in such social and environmental transitions;
  • Role of stakeholders in triggering sustainable business model innovations;
  • Definition of sustainable business model innovations for different industries and contexts;
  • Development of indicators to measure social and environmental impacts of sustainable business model innovations;
  • Identification of mechanisms for the development of social innovation;
  • Analysis of the synergy between digital technologies and social and sustainable business model innovations;

Identification of the main factors (organizational, social, economic, contextual etc.) able to affect the development of social and sustainable business model innovations.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

  1. Brenner, B. (2018). Transformative sustainable business models in the light of the digital imperative—A global business economics perspective. Sustainability10(12), 4428.
  2. Colglazier, W. (2015). Sustainable development agenda: 2030. Science349(6252), 1048-1050.
  3. Maiolini, R., Marra, A., Baldassarri, C., & Carlei, V. (2016). Digital technologies for social innovation: an empirical recognition on the new enablers. Journal of technology management & innovation, 11(4), 22-28.
  4. Mont, O., Whalen, K., & Nussholz, J. (2019). Sustainable innovation in business models: celebrated but not interrogated. In Handbook of Sustainable Innovation. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  5. Acciarini, C., Borelli, F., Capo, F., Cappa, F., & Sarrocco, C. (2021). Can digitalization favour the emergence of innovative and sustainable business models? A qualitative exploration in the automotive sector. Journal of Strategy and Management.
  6. Parida, V., Sjödin, D., & Reim, W. (2019). Reviewing literature on digitalization, business model innovation, and sustainable industry: Past achievements and future promises.

Prof. Dr. Barbara Bigliardi
Dr. Serena Filippelli
Dr. Giovanna Ferraro
Prof. Dr. Renato Passaro
Dr. Ivana Quinto
Dr. Leonardo Tagliente
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable business model
  • digitalization
  • digital transformation
  • social innovation
  • sustainable business model innovation

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 521 KiB  
Article
Post-Pandemic IT: Digital Transformation and Sustainability
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 15275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142215275 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3045
Abstract
Decades-old research (by the authors and others) on global Information Technology (IT) trends demonstrates a steady increase in IT’s role in organizational competitiveness. Digital transformation is bringing profound change to everything we do. Nowhere has this been more apparent than the changes demanded [...] Read more.
Decades-old research (by the authors and others) on global Information Technology (IT) trends demonstrates a steady increase in IT’s role in organizational competitiveness. Digital transformation is bringing profound change to everything we do. Nowhere has this been more apparent than the changes demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the impact on every company began well before and will continue long after the pandemic. What has differentiated the pandemic conundrum is the ubiquity of the impact, a reality that demanded immediate changes to strategies and plans. This research analyzes IT issues and trends before and during the pandemic using data from global IT trends research and surveys to project how IT sustainability will be shaped post-pandemic. The paper examines the top significant management concerns and technology considerations to project the pandemic’s lasting impact on IT and to answer the important question: Will IT revert back to where we were pre-pandemic? We conclude that the changes in IT, and specifically, digital transformation, are not just the result of an emergency-induced pivot, but a broad recognition that IT will sustain its fundamental role in driving/enabling significant economic value across every organization. The research concludes that IT in the post-pandemic era will continue to grow as an essential vehicle for competitive advantage and agility, while promoting sustainability through digital transformation. Full article
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32 pages, 1595 KiB  
Article
Determinants of the Intention to Adopt Digital-Only Banks in Malaysia: The Extension of Environmental Concern
Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 11043; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141711043 - 04 Sep 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4114
Abstract
Digital-only banks have not achieved adoption expectations despite being one of the latest innovations in fintech. Several digital-only banks in the United States and Japan have gone bankrupt, and others continue to operate at a loss. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct this [...] Read more.
Digital-only banks have not achieved adoption expectations despite being one of the latest innovations in fintech. Several digital-only banks in the United States and Japan have gone bankrupt, and others continue to operate at a loss. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct this study in Malaysia to understand customers’ behavior, particularly regarding the adoption of digital-only banks. With climate change, environmental-friendly behavior, which has been ignored in digital-only bank literature, is becoming increasingly pertinent. This study addresses the lack of an integrated model that investigates the effect of external factors (i.e., critical mass, number of services, and environmental concerns), customer self-determination factors (i.e., trust), and mental perceptions of technology adoption (i.e., convenience, economic efficiency, functional and security risks, as well as perceived value) on the intention to adopt digital-only banks. Data were collected through an online survey targeting Klang Valley residents in the prime age range of 25–54 years old using stratified random sampling. The data was analyzed using structural equation modeling by performing confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and SEM path analysis in AMOS.v26 software. The results show that convenience, economic efficiency, number of services, trust, perceived value, and environmental concern all have positive significant relationships with the intention to adopt digital-only banks. Further, environmental concern is the strongest indicator of behavioral intention. In contrast, functional and security risks have a negative but non-significant relationship with the intention to adopt digital-only banks. Finally, critical mass has a positive but non-significant effect on the behavioral intention. This study is among the first to examine the influence of environmental concern on behavioral intentions in a digital-only banking context. It also contributes to an expanding body of research investigating environmental sustainability by presenting empirical results in the context of digital-only banks. Full article
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