The purpose of this paper is to describe how sustainable development has been initiated in a country (Sweden) in which sustainable development has priority and has produced observable results – essentially, the definition and reshaping of contents (p. 107) referred to in the Zhang and London (ZL) paper, therefore adding some validity to the model.
The research is both exploratory and qualitative in nature and uses an in-depth case study approach to the Swedish international economy as might be reflected by ZL’s modified Porter model. Information drawn from current secondary sources is complemented by personal contemporaneous observations of individuals in the country of interest.
The task of implementing Sweden’s strategy for sustainable development is holistic, and the State has played a major role in its development. That is, sustainability is the responsibility of the Government Offices as a whole, which produces proactive programs in each of the interactions analyzed in the ZL modified model. As an aside, the country has sustained a high level of competitiveness while producing a pleasant environment in which to live.
Limitations in the study follow the same criticisms made of Porter’ seminal treatment – (still) lack of a formal model construction (although ZL make a meaningful contribution), (still) lack of clear definitions (although ZL make a meaningful contribution), problematic research methodology (although an attempt has been made at improvement) and lack of empirical testing among others (and it is thought that this paper is a step in the right direction).
Insofar as Sweden might be a model for other countries interested in extending their efforts in sustainable development, observations here provide some insights into possible approaches and results.
The approach basically followed Siggelkow’s (2007) definition of the use of cases as illustrations, which is useful when the underlying development depends upon constructs. It follows that the association of real-world observations with theory well serves the underlying foundation and cannot help but build credibility of those concepts and theory.
Lindbergh, L., Jacobsson, M. and Wilson, T.L. (2016), "Swedish sustainability through a Zhang and London lens", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 370-394. https://doi.org/10.1108/CR-05-2014-0014Download as .RIS
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