The purpose of this paper is to do a thorough literature review to assess the current status of corporate sustainability (CS) practices, issues and challenges in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and based on literature suggest a model that can improve and strategically manage their sustainability practices in the emerging market context of Asia.
After setting the theoretical background on why the corporations need to shoulder the responsibility of sustainable development, the authors did a high level literature review to estimate the gap area and based on the findings formulated some research questions on why the SMEs, more specifically those in Asian emerging market, are lagging behind in terms of CS practices. Next, using the “literature survey” as the methodology the authors did a thorough in-depth literature review to answer the above research questions and organised the findings in light of those research questions. Considering the research gap and the crucial role of SMEs in a country’s economic progress the authors restricted the literature search on CS in the case of SMEs only.
CS is a well-practiced area in big organisations. However, the literature suggests that in the case of SMEs the situation is different. Social and environmental practices are grossly neglected in SMEs more specifically in emerging markets. Existing literature mentions that collaborative mode of operation, government policy and facilitation, supporting organisation culture can positively influence SME’s sustainability performance, and hence, improve their financial performance.
The conceptual model has been developed based on suggestions and recommendations in western countries context. To establish the validity of the model in the Asian business scenario it needs to be tested with a sizable sample of SMEs in the Asian market.
The current paper has practical implications both for academic research on sustainable development and also in business development. The proposed model in the current form is based on the literature survey only. Once such a model is empirically established this can be proved beneficial for providing guidance to SMEs to enhance the sustainability of their business operations. Moreover, environmental and social best practices adopted by SMEs will also have a positive influence on society and the environment in the long run.
This paper had done a country-wise comparison of sustainable practices in SMEs and based on the recommendations and suggestions of different scholars as found in the detailed literature review, the authors developed few research propositions and also presented a conceptual model. Finally, to address the gap it mentions some future research possibilities to test and validate the proposed model in the context of SMEs in emerging markets of Asia.
Das, M., Rangarajan, K. and Dutta, G. (2020), "Corporate sustainability in SMEs: an Asian perspective", Journal of Asia Business Studies, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 109-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/JABS-10-2017-0176Download as .RIS
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