The Intellectual Domains of Sustainability Leadership in SMEs

Boeske, Jane ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3717-0102 and Murray, Peter A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2141-4144 (2022) The Intellectual Domains of Sustainability Leadership in SMEs. Sustainability, 14 (4):1978. pp. 1-19.

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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to review the intertwined range of conceptualizations that have blurred developing leadership knowledge regarding environmental sustainability. An examination of the leadership literature reveals differential descriptions about sustainable, environmental, and sustainability leadership which are increasingly being used to imply what sustainability‐focused leaders do, their interactions, their relationships, and how they address sustainable challenges. While extant research supports that leadership is a critical capability to respond and adapt to constant external environmental and economic upheaval in large firms, agreement about the types of leadership practices necessary to achieve positive environmental sustainability and eco‐efficient outcomes is less clear in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). To resolve these problems, we synthesize the sustainable, environmental and sustainability leadership literature by (a) reviewing and clarifying these leadership constructs, (b) theoretically unravelling these overlapping concepts, and (c) developing an integrated framework of intellectual capital and sustainability leadership practices. From a theoretical perspective, this paper seeks to make a significant contribution to the scholarly leadership literature by offering several leadership classifications of skills and knowledge relevant to leadership knowledge domains. Given that extant research has conflated many leadership approaches, this paper builds on the theoretical knowledge of the kind of leadership skills required for sustainability leadership. From a practical perspective, we provide SME leaders with knowledge about the types of leadership practices, behaviours, and activities that will enhance sustainable productivity in their firms. The paper is designed to advance a new way of thinking about existing sustainability leadership by presenting an original contribution that alters and reorganizes potential causal maps, that are potentially more valuable. Whilst most of the leadership research involves large firms, we seek to better understand and inform sustainability leadership in SMEs.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 01:51
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2022 05:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eco‐efficient outcomes; Environmental and sustainability leadership; Intellectual capital; Network capital; Organization capital; Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); Sustainable; Sustainable productivity
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350709 Organisation and management theory
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350716 Small business organisation and management
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350702 Corporate social responsibility
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350707 Leadership
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su14041978
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48164

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