Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Call for papers
Title: Technology, stakeholder collaboration, and sustainable entrepreneurship in the SDGs
Prof. Abel Monfort
ESIC Business & Marketing School
Prof. Morgan P. Miles
Charles Sturt University, Australia
Prof. Maria Orero-Blat (Managing Guest Editor).
Universitat Politècnica de València
Background and Motivation
Policy initiatives such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) change the competitive and regulatory landscape for companies and entrepreneurs. The SDGs provide objectives that government, commerce, and civil society should pursue to create a just and sustainable future. The field of science, technology, and innovation (STI) can be leveraged through entrepreneurship to pursue the SDGs. In such a context, mechanisms must be established to facilitate cooperation between stakeholders and promote knowledge sharing and innovation. These factors are crucial for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Walsh et al., 2020).
Cooperation between stakeholders, including communities, investors, customers, suppliers, universities, industry, and governments, enhance the likelihood of effective innovations and the synergic relationships between these agents (Hernández-Trasobares & Murillo-Luna, 2020; Miles, Munilla and Darroch, 2006). As Sarasvathy and Venkataraman (2011: 122) note:
“Entrepreneurial action…is above all, interaction—interaction over time, between stakeholders, and through local transformations of every kind of environment imaginable…Only by conceptualizing entrepreneurship as a method can we hope to push its uses beyond technology commercialization and economic development and put it to work to build social innovations that make a positive difference in human development.”
Approaches to collaboration vary. For example, religion, conceived as a multi-faceted embodiment of a socially and politically relevant institution, also enables research on social values for sustainability through theories of social transformation (Ives & Kidwell, 2019). Buddhism provides the Faith Statement on Ecology (Faith in Conservation), which condemns actions such as polluting the environment, eating meat, and harming vegetation (Singh, 2015). Christianity, through Pope Francis, published the Encyclical Laudato Si’ (Francis, 2015), which reframes the need for sustainable entrepreneurship according to the Christian faith. Sachs (2017) compared the 2030 Agenda with the Laudato Si’, concluding that although they have different approaches, they agree on the need to reshape the global economic model, pursuing a green economy and a post-capitalist era with a more ethical responsibility at all levels. In short, collaboration between stakeholders is broad and can span multiple scenarios.
This special issue focuses on the interrelationships between STI, sustainable entrepreneurship, and stakeholders advancing the SDGs. Sustainability has increasingly become a leading motivation for opportunity-driven entrepreneurship (Cervelló-Royo et al., 2020). Sustainable entrepreneurship can be conceptualized as the process of discovering, evaluating, and exploiting opportunities that are environmentally, socially, and economically relevant (Dean & McMullen, 2007). Sustainable entrepreneurship pursues opportunities that enhance the ecological and social environment (Shepherd & Patzelt, 2011) to generate economic and social benefits (Messeni-Petruzzelli et al., 2019; Verreine et al., 2013). In the context of the SDGs, sustainable entrepreneurs and corporate entrepreneurs can play an important role.
Adopting an STI approach in a sustainable entrepreneurship project requires an understanding that technology needs stakeholder support throughout the ecosystem to advance SDGs. “These MoIs [Methods of Implementation] include creating a market space for SDG oriented production, finance, public and private partnerships, data, and lots of other capacities to ensure STI is more pervasive in its diffusion and assist more effectively with the implementation of SDGs across nations” (Walsh et al., 2020, p. 6). Venkataraman (1997: 120) notes that the creation of a market is entrepreneurship as it “seeks to understand how opportunities to bring into existence ‘future’ goods and services are discovered, created and exploited, by whom and with what consequences.”
However, the literature pays little attention to how STI initiatives are enhanced by knowledge sharing and collaboration between actors (Berawi, 2017). Other noteworthy aspects are the business models behind sustainable entrepreneurship projects. Establishing these business models is especially relevant and involves multiple institutional logics and coordination with different and diverse stakeholders (Schneider and Clauß, 2020).
In this context, sustainability-focused entrepreneurial projects can take substantial measures to reduce their ecological footprint. They can do so through impactful technological innovations (Cadez et al., 2019; Wahyuni & Ratnatunga, 2015) or systems based on so-called impression management responses, which seek the support of stakeholders (Talbot and Boiral, 2015) through initiatives such as the establishment of foundations or charity donations (Monfort et al., 2021). Likewise, research on sustainable entrepreneurship must consider contextual moderating effects such as pressure from stakeholders in a given location, government relations, and institutional voids (Ge et al., 2019). Additionally, the collaboration between SMEs and multinationals creates business and innovation opportunities for both. SMEs can overcome resource constraints, while larger firms are exposed to more innovative ideas (Hora et al., 2018). However, there remains a need to articulate such partnerships' benefits in terms of their sustainability and innovation. For instance, Tian et al. (2019) suggest that business-government relations stimulate firm innovation and that new forms of cooperation, such as renewable energy cooperatives, can address a communities’ local needs and global environmental problems (Heras-Saizarbitoria et al., 2018; Tarhan, 2015).
Likewise, research on the diffusion of bottom-up sustainable innovation is limited (Feola & Butt, 2017). A lack of research considers strategic and multi-stakeholder approaches to sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainable corporate entrepreneurship limit our understanding. Despite the increase in publications on the SDGs, the literature pays little attention to emerging digital paradigms to deal with the complexities, limitations, and research gaps of the 2030 Agenda (Del Río Castro et al., 2021) in the context of sustainability.
These illustrations offer just a few examples of the wide range of actors capable of interacting with sustainable entrepreneurs. We are only beginning to understand STI-based entrepreneurial solutions, such as exploiting energy-efficiency opportunities and the relationship between finance, profitability, and STI-based enterprises (Mazzucato & Semieniuk, 2018). For investors, recent research has highlighted crowdfunding as an alternative source of funding to develop energy technologies (Bento et al., 2019). We have an underdeveloped understanding of how SMEs are coping with being suppliers in the value chains of SDG-focused multinationals (Stekelorum et al., 2020), given that SMEs can profitably reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains (Su & Moaniba, 2017).
These cases reflect just some examples in terms of technology management, innovation, and sustainable entrepreneurship that depend on the relationships between multiple actors to achieve the 2030 Agenda's success.
Objectives and Topics
Although these issues are on multiple actors’ sustainability agendas, we know little about sustainable entrepreneurship’s environmental and economic consequences and the strategic decisions that give rise to impact partnerships to promote sustainability within the 2030 Agenda framework. Future research can uncover sustainability and technology management innovations by new actors in different industries and companies that encourage internal sustainable entrepreneurship.
We also need to know whether the new sustainable technologies developed by new entrepreneurs and corporate entrepreneurs can be transferred across the globe, especially considering the differences in each region's development processes. Consequently, it is crucial to know which technologies are being created by sustainable entrepreneurs and to understand how the creation and management of inclusive, sustainable, and useful governance technologies are being encouraged through collaboration between actors at all levels.
This call for papers aims to attract studies that examine various aspects of sustainable entrepreneurial innovations and technology management under the principle of cross-collaboration. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- Sustainable entrepreneurship collaborations and value creation in technology sectors
- The SDGs, technological management, and sustainable entrepreneurship
- Partnerships for the SDGs in the context of technology management and sustainable entrepreneurial projects
- Methods of implementation of the entrepreneurial method in achieving the SDGs through STI
- Top-down and bottom-up diffusion strategies in sustainable technology and entrepreneurship
- Benefits of the relationship between SMEs and large companies in terms of technology management and sustainable innovations
- Strategically oriented entrepreneurial initiatives in sustainable energy at the firm level
- Sustainable entrepreneurship in international legislation, accreditation, and auditing processes
- Energy efficiency opportunities and collaborative, sustainable entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurship, pricing, and green technologies
- New forms of investment for entrepreneurial energy projects and economic and environmental impacts
- Digital sustainable technologies
- Case studies in technology-based management and sustainable organizations
- Development of technological and sustainable ventures
- Ethical issues arising from the need for sustainable entrepreneurship and technology management
- Digital competencies and Management 3.0
- Management of the supply chain in entrepreneurial projects
- Investment models in sustainable entrepreneurship
- Corporate entrepreneurship and its usefulness to achieve the SDGs
- The attainment of the SDGs through sustainable organizations
We are particularly interested in studies that examine the economic and environmental impacts of sustainable entrepreneurship in new sectors and practices that represent significant innovative improvements on what is already known about sustainability management in organizations. The approach should consider the collaboration and relationships between actors to pursue the 2030 Agenda.
We look forward to receiving rigorous and impactful research that provides novel insights into the interface between sustainable entrepreneurship and technological innovations within and beyond work. The research may be empirical (including quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods approaches) or conceptual. We also accept review articles that include a compelling summary of the state-of-the-art in a well-researched area of a topic related to the special issue.
- Submission dates: October 01, 2021 to September 30, 2022
- Review process: On a rolling basis from October 2021 to December 2022.
- Publication: This is a VSI; accepted papers will be published online immediately once accepted and included in the next available issue of the journal.
For guidelines to prepare your manuscript and for manuscript submission, please visit:
All submissions should be made at the following address:
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