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Special Issue "Sustainable Innovation in Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises—Emerging Opportunities, Challenges and Future Research Agenda"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 8311

Special Issue Editors

School of Management, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP, UK
Interests: SMEs; sustainability; strategy; entrepreneurship
Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University, Leicester LE1 9HB, UK
Interests: corporate sustainability; corporate governance; stakeholder engagement; corporate finance; credit market performance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The challenges of sustainable/eco-product innovation are heightened in small and medium-sized enterprises, which remain consistently under-researched in comparison to multinational companies and large firms [1,2]. In particular, SMEs face problems as a result of a scarcity of internal resources to innovate [3], the low munificence of their business environment [4] and the priority of social sustainability concerns over environmental sustainability [5]. Despite these challenges, our understanding of challenges and opportunities for sustainable/eco-product innovation in SMEs remains under-researched [6–9]. Therefore, this Special Issue aims seeks to advance our knowledge and provide space for a better understanding of the drivers and outcomes of sustainable/eco-innovation in small medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In particular, the Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers that address sustainability and sustainable/eco-innovation in SMEs. We seek both theoretical and empirical papers that may address but are not limited to issues linked to: (1) sustainable innovation and small firm growth/performance; (2) the relationship between corporate sustainability and product quality concerns/strengths; (3) sustainable innovation strategies in SMEs; stakeholder pressures and environmental management in SMEs; (4) challenges of implementing environmental/suitability strategies in SMEs; (5) formal and informal sources of finance and sustainable innovation performance; (6) slack resources and sustainability expenditure; corporate sustainability and access to finance by SMEs; (7) the influence of culture on the sustainability in SMEs; (8) sustainable/eco-innovation and social innovation; and (9) non-profit SMEs and sustainable innovations.

The Special Issue is aligned with goals 9 and 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim at highlighting innovation, responsible consumption and production. Indeed, this Special Issue presents a unique opportunity for scholars to examine these issues in greater detail. The guest editors do not have any methodological preference. Papers submitted to this Special Issue will undergo a rigorous peer review procedure in line with the requirements of this journal.

References: 

  1. Jahanshahi, A.A.; Brem, A. Sustainability in SMEs: Top Management Teams Behavioral Integration as Source of Innovativeness. 2017, 9, 1899, doi:10.3390/su9101899.
  2. Jamali, D.; Karam, C. Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries as an Emerging Field of Study. J. Manag. Rev. 2016, 20, 32–61, doi:10.1111/ijmr.12112.
  3. Amankwah‐Amoah, J.; Danso, A.; Adomako, S. Entrepreneurial orientation, environmental sustainability and new venture performance: Does stakeholder integration matter?. Strat. Environ. 2018, 28, 79–87, doi:10.1002/bse.2191.
  4. Konadu, R.; Owusu‐Agyei, S.; Lartey, T.; Danso, A.; Adomako, S.; Amankwah-Amoah, J. CEOs’ reputation, quality management and environmental innovation: The roles of stakeholder pressure and resource commitment. Strat. Environ. 2020, 29, 2310–2323, doi:10.1002/bse.2504.
  5. Idemudia, U. Environmental Business-NGO Partnerships in Nigeria: Issues and Prospects. Strat. Environ. 2017, 26, 265–276, doi:10.1002/bse.1915.
  6. Adomako, S.; Ning, E.; Adu‐Ameyaw, E. Proactive environmental strategy and firm performance at the bottom of the pyramid. Strat. Environ. 2020, 1–10, doi:10.1002/bse.2629.
  7. Lartey, T.; Yirenkyi, D.O.; Adomako, S.; Danso, A.; Amankwah‐Amoah, J.; Alam, A. Going green, going clean: Lean‐green sustainability strategy and firm growth. Strat. Environ. 2020, 29, 118–139, doi:10.1002/bse.2353.
  8. Danso, A.; Adomako, S.; Lartey, T.; Amankwah-Amoah, J.; Owusu-Yirenkyi, D. Stakeholder integration, environmental sustainability orientation and financial performance. Bus. Res. 2019, doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.02.038.
  9. Boso, N.; Danso, A.; Leonidou, C.; Uddin, M.; Adeola, O.; Hultman, M. Does financial resource slack drive sustainability expenditure in developing economy small and medium-sized enterprises? Bus. Res. 2017, 80, 247–256, doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.06.016.

Dr. Samuel Adomako
Dr. Albert Danso
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 2200 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 innovation
  • SMEs
  • eco-innovation
  • sustainability
  • sustainable performance
  • social innovation
  • environmental strategy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Socioeconomic Determinants of Female Development in the Rural North West Province of South Africa
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010547 - 05 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
Women engagement and reward systems are vital for rural development as they have a direct consequence on the improvement, equality, as well as accelerating agricultural productivity generally, and increasing food supply in particular at the local and national levels. The study highlighted the [...] Read more.
Women engagement and reward systems are vital for rural development as they have a direct consequence on the improvement, equality, as well as accelerating agricultural productivity generally, and increasing food supply in particular at the local and national levels. The study highlighted the contribution of the Award Incentives and Competition (AIC) programme in enhancing women farmers’ economic strength. It also looked at how influence, change and technological know-how could improve women farmers’ participation in development programmes. It provided an overview of the determinants of female entrepreneurship development in rural North West Province using a quantitative survey method approach. One hundred and fifty-six women farmers, who were randomly selected from all districts in the province and different enterprises out of 520 eligible women farmers, participated in the study. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and inferential (Probit regression) model. Based on empirical data, the Probit regression model estimates suggested that the educational status, creation of temporary and permanent jobs, and extension sources were some of the determinants of entrepreneurial development in the study area. The study recommends that policymakers continue to advocate for education as female farmers need to participate in development programme(s). Full article
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Article
Framework of Blockchain-Supported E-Commerce Platform for Small and Medium Enterprises
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8158; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158158 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2458
Abstract
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in promoting the national economy and providing employment opportunities. E-commerce platforms may facilitate transactions between these enterprises. However, transactions on the e-commerce platform are non-face-to-face, strongly virtual, and variable, resulting in SMEs often facing [...] Read more.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in promoting the national economy and providing employment opportunities. E-commerce platforms may facilitate transactions between these enterprises. However, transactions on the e-commerce platform are non-face-to-face, strongly virtual, and variable, resulting in SMEs often facing moral hazards and opportunistic behaviors. Blockchain is a distributed ledger consisting of an encryption algorithm, consensus mechanism, and smart contracts, having the characteristics of authenticity, security, transparency, and unforgeability. Thus, the problems faced by SMEs can be resolved by combining e-commerce platforms and blockchain technology. In this study, we first provide a conceptual framework for blockchain-supported e-commerce platforms for SMEs. Second, based on this conceptual framework, we build a total business architecture. Finally, we propose three key applications to illustrate how the platform facilitates SMEs in solving financing and trading problems. This study provides significant guidance for the operation and management of blockchain-supported e-commerce platforms for these enterprises. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Stable Customer Relationships on Enterprises’ Technological Innovation Based on the Mediating Effect of the Competitive Advantage of Enterprises
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3610; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073610 - 24 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1161
Abstract
Technological innovation and stable customer relationships are both important factors for the sustainable development of enterprises. However, it remains unclear whether there is a relationship between stable customer relationships and technological innovation. In this work, we manually collected data regarding customer relationships and [...] Read more.
Technological innovation and stable customer relationships are both important factors for the sustainable development of enterprises. However, it remains unclear whether there is a relationship between stable customer relationships and technological innovation. In this work, we manually collected data regarding customer relationships and the innovation of manufacturing companies listed in the A-Share index in China from 2009 to 2016. Through empirical analysis, this work used a two-way fixed effect model and intermediary effect model tests to explore the impact of stable customer relationships on technological innovation. The empirical research found the following. (1) Stable customer relationships significantly promote the technological innovation of enterprises, and the empirical results are still valid after a variety of robust tests. The competitive advantage of enterprises forms a part of the intermediary role in the relationship above. (2) Comparing the samples of large-scale enterprises, state-owned enterprises, mature enterprises, and low-capital-intensive enterprises, the research found that stable customer relationships can significantly promote corporate technological innovation in small-scale enterprises, non-state-owned enterprises, young enterprises, and highly capital-intensive enterprises. This article enriches and deepens our understanding of the mechanism by which stable customer relationships affect enterprises’ technological innovation. At the same time, this research is helpful for better evaluating the impact of establishing a stable customer relationship on the sustainable competitive advantage of enterprises. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Corporate Strategy on Enterprise Innovation Based on the Mediating Effect of Corporate Risk-Taking
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031023 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2509
Abstract
Corporate strategy and enterprise innovation are highly relevant to corporate sustainability. Although previous studies on corporate strategy and enterprise innovation have yielded many results, a consensus regarding the relationship between the two is still lacking. The purpose of this study was to empirically [...] Read more.
Corporate strategy and enterprise innovation are highly relevant to corporate sustainability. Although previous studies on corporate strategy and enterprise innovation have yielded many results, a consensus regarding the relationship between the two is still lacking. The purpose of this study was to empirically analyze the impact of corporate strategy on corporate innovation performance and analyze corporate risk-taking as a potential factor mediating such. Based on data for listed Chinese A-share manufacturing companies for 2008 to 2018, this empirical study found that corporate strategy and corporate innovation show an inverted U-shaped relationship. Corporate risk-taking plays a mediating effect between corporate strategy and corporate innovation performance. This study expands the knowledge on situational variables and the mechanism by which corporate strategy might impact enterprise innovation and can enlighten managers to promote the sustainable development of manufacturing enterprises. Full article
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