Aktuelle Publikation im Journal of Global Responsibility

Schwab, L./ Gold, S./ Kunz, N./ Reiner, G., (2017),“ Sustainable Business Growth: Exploring Operations Decision-Making „, Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 8 Iss 1 pp. –

Abstract: The concept of growth both fascinates and frightens managers. Whether they praise it or fear it, all managers know the famous mantra „grow or die“. Whether a start-up or a multinational giant, public sector or private sector, almost every company has growth on its agenda (Heffes and Sinnett, 2006). Nonetheless, growth is not always the right strategy for a company. Even when it is a good strategic choice, implementing it in a sustainable way remains a challenge. The research reported here investigated how operations decisions made by managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affect a company’s development during periods of business growth. The paper draws conclusions on how the growth of SMEs can be designed in a sustainable way. By “sustainable” we mean maintaining stable long-term economic, social and environmental performance (Figge et al., 2002). To this end, we represent growth as a dynamic process determined by the decisions made by managers. We map the territory of operations decisions during a growth period according to the three performance dimensions of the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental) while acknowledging their intimate interrelatedness (Dyllick and Hockerts, 2002; Venkatraman and Nayak, 2015). Through a longitudinal case study, we investigate different sequences of complex decisions by distilling their inherent patterns. In doing so, we evaluate the effects of these decisions on sustainable growth (cf. Widell, 2012). We extend operations man

agement theory towards a more nuanced picture of operations-related decision-making processes during business growth—exceeding the current operations management focus on strategic de
cisions relating to capacity (Olhager et al., 2001)—and we contribute to business growth literature by integrating the concept of sustainability. Moreover, we provide practical guidance for managers of growing SMEs. The conclusions presented here are drawn from the specific challenges faced by one company in a growth phase; the use of this case study makes this paper particularly relevant for businesses in similar situations. Furthermore, relating these challenges to concepts discussed in literature ensures that the findings can be generalized more broadly through a process of theoretical abstraction, thus increasing the external validity of our results.
The full paper is available at the following link: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/JGR-11-2016-0031