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Sustainable development: a competitive advantage or a threat?

Sustainable development: a competitive advantage or a threat? Purpose – Organizations and businesses have evolved tremendously during the last years. Previously, the focus of organizations was on goods and production, however, later on this perspective has changed to a more knowledge and intellectual capital focus nowadays. As such, concepts of organizational knowledge and know‐how, as well as stakeholders and society rights are increasingly being raised and discussed in recent studies. This paper aims to present the fundamental questions on the importance of undertaking sustainable development roles by organizations and the effects that it can have on the organizations. The paper will also discuss how organizations can benefit from acting to their sustainable development roles and consider it as a means of competitive advantage, rather than an organizational threat. Design/methodology/approach – In‐depth literature review as well as years of experience of authors in the field has been used to develop this research. Findings – It is concluded that despite some initial limitations for the organizations in undertaking their sustainable development roles, they will benefit from the positive image that is created for their organization as well as other benefits and competitive advantages in the long run. Practical implications – It is necessary for organizations to be aware of their sustainable development roles and undertake their responsibilities toward the society. Originality/value – After the recent global economic meltdown, the question whether sustainability and organizational commitments toward sustainable development can help organizations gain a competitive advantage to better survive in the challenging world of today, is yet to be further discussed. This paper is an attempt to investigate this in more detail. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Business Strategy Series Emerald Publishing

Sustainable development: a competitive advantage or a threat?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1751-5637
DOI
10.1108/17515631011026407
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Organizations and businesses have evolved tremendously during the last years. Previously, the focus of organizations was on goods and production, however, later on this perspective has changed to a more knowledge and intellectual capital focus nowadays. As such, concepts of organizational knowledge and know‐how, as well as stakeholders and society rights are increasingly being raised and discussed in recent studies. This paper aims to present the fundamental questions on the importance of undertaking sustainable development roles by organizations and the effects that it can have on the organizations. The paper will also discuss how organizations can benefit from acting to their sustainable development roles and consider it as a means of competitive advantage, rather than an organizational threat. Design/methodology/approach – In‐depth literature review as well as years of experience of authors in the field has been used to develop this research. Findings – It is concluded that despite some initial limitations for the organizations in undertaking their sustainable development roles, they will benefit from the positive image that is created for their organization as well as other benefits and competitive advantages in the long run. Practical implications – It is necessary for organizations to be aware of their sustainable development roles and undertake their responsibilities toward the society. Originality/value – After the recent global economic meltdown, the question whether sustainability and organizational commitments toward sustainable development can help organizations gain a competitive advantage to better survive in the challenging world of today, is yet to be further discussed. This paper is an attempt to investigate this in more detail.

Journal

Business Strategy SeriesEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 16, 2010

Keywords: Sustainable development; Economic depression; Competitive advantage

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