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Sustainable business growth: exploring operations decision-making

Leila Schwab (Department of Production and Logistics Management, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Stefan Gold (Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany)
Nathan Kunz (Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
Gerald Reiner (Department of Production Management and Business Logistics, Universitaet Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore how operations decision-making may keep the growing firms within the boundaries of corporate and societal sustainability.


The authors classify operations decisions during growth periods according to the three dimensions of the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental). By means of a longitudinal case study of a family-owned wood construction firm that is in a process of intense growth, the authors identify, visually represent and analyse the complex sequences of selected managerial operations decisions.


The empirical data suggest that operations decisions made by managers during growth periods follow specific patterns. From the analysis, the authors derive various research propositions that investigate how a well-understood and therefore efficient and effective decision-making process can facilitate sustainable business growth.

Research limitations/implications

The findings offer opportunities for future studies to zoom in on specific parts of the decision-making process during growth periods. Moreover, given the exploratory nature of this study, future research should test hypotheses derived from the research propositions.

Practical implications

This study investigates operations decision-making during growth, which is crucial for guiding companies through this complex transition phase.


This conceptual and empirical analysis explores new theory and contributes to the vastly under-researched subject of sustainable business growth.



Schwab, L., Gold, S., Kunz, N. and Reiner, G. (2017), "Sustainable business growth: exploring operations decision-making", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 83-95.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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