Sustainable value creation in SMEs: a case study

Maria Vincenza Ciasullo (Department of Study and Business Research, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy)
Orlando Troisi (Department of Study and Business Research, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Publication date: 4 January 2013



The purpose of this paper is to study how a small to medium‐size enterprise (SME) in Campania (Italy) integrated sustainability into its corporate strategy, and how its sustainable corporate strategies reflect on intangible assets.


The paper, an exploratory study based on grounded theory, analyzes are interviews with the entrepreneurial team and top and middle management. Findings are integrated with documentary analysis, internal process data and archival material.


Ethics and value systems play a significant role in devising sustainable corporate strategy. Competitive strategies, innovation, quality and responsibility are reflected in management procedures and the supply network system involving partners in sustainable innovation processes.

Research limitations/implications

A single case study obviously limits the generalizing of the findings.

Practical implications

Entrepreneurs and managers can benefit from the study to build a relational network for sustainable development.


The process of sustainable value creation, sharing and the co‐creation of knowledge emerges fully in the case study analyzed. The study pivots on issues of innovation and eco‐sustainability as drivers for corporate sustainability and business ethics.



Vincenza Ciasullo, M. and Troisi, O. (2013), "Sustainable value creation in SMEs: a case study", The TQM Journal, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 44-61.

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