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Smart technologies for sustainable business model: Adaptation challenges and prospects in economic and cultural drift


Special issue call for papers from Management Decision

Guest editors
Rosa Lombardi (supervising guest editor), Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Paola Paoloni, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Zhanna Belyaeva, Ural Federal University, Russia
Riad Shams, Ural Federal University, Russia 

In information and communication technology (ICT) research and practice, smart technology is characterized as “self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology (SMART)” (Mashhadi et al., 2018, p.1108) that is, generally, able to take decision to adapt with the changing environment instantly, based on analysing the preceding and new information that the technology collects and stores in its memory, in support of its own artificial intelligence. The purpose of smart technology is to create, deliver and manage intelligent products/services and/or experiences, which is characterized by intensive information sharing for optimal and sustainable value creation or co-creation (Gretzel et al., 2015).  In this context, smart technologies have received greater attention in recent years in business and management practice (Lombardi, 2019 forthcoming), in order to offer products or services more competitively, sustainably, and with optimized value for the involved stakeholders. For example, in the tourism and culinary industry, entrepreneurs are experimenting with robots (i.e. artificial intelligence) to not only replace the waiters/waitresses, but also the chefs (Holley, 2018). In the contemporary broadcasting industry, the mega events such as Olympic, World Cup Football and other events are broadcasted, based on a broadcasting system that is supported by the Internet of Things (IoT) (Trequattrini et al., 2016), which is defined as “the interconnection via the internet of (several) computing devices…, enabling them to send and receive data (instantly)” (Fletcher, 2015, p. 20). Regrettably, “the concept of smart technology itself has however been scarcely defined and conceptualized beyond technological fields and perspectives” (Lee, 2012; as cited in Neuhofer et al., 2015, p. 243).

Consequently, such lack of understanding and inadequate definition of smart technology beyond the ICT field brings a critical challenge to comprehensively understand the extent that should be followed to adapt smart technologies in particular business management context, in order to fully capitalize with the smart technology for sustainably designing, implementing and monitoring smart technology-centred business and management models. A common challenge for sustainably adapting smart technology in business and management is it extends the risk of increased unemployment in the long-run. For example, the artificial intelligence, such as robots replace the waiters, waitresses and chefs. The blockchain technology-centred ATMs take the jobs of banks’ customer service attendants and/or cashiers. In general, effective data management is instrumental for sustainably designing, implementing and monitoring any smart technology. However, in terms of data management, storage and stakeholder privacy, the giant corporations, such as “Facebook is at the center of a huge privacy controversy” (Newman and Farrell, 2015, np). Denoting to the recent indignity of Facebook’s data mismanagement, it is reported that “it was not just the user’s profile data that was harvested, but also that of their friends” (McNamee and Parakilas, 2018, np). There are also many other examples of inappropriate management of data in business practice in recent years, such as in Tesco (McDonald, 2017), Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis (O'Grady, 2017). As a result, in business management, the big data-centred smart technology implementation often leads to wrong decision making (Barth, 2017). In support of this view, Mikalef et al. (2017) also argue that “big data and analytics are also challenging existing modes of business and well-established companies” (np).

Since IoT, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchains, generally have implications to design and implement self-monitored analytical reporting system also in the light of corporate governance and accounting system; this special issue refers to these four technological innovations in particular, as the core area of investigation on “the challenges and prospects of smart technology to plan, implement and monitor sustainable business model in economic and cultural drift”. However, on the one hand, “there is limited understanding of how organizations need to change to embrace these technological innovations, and the business shifts they entail. Even more, the business value and strategic relevance of…technologies still remain largely underexplored” (Mikalef et al., 2017, np). On the other hand, the prospective implication of smart technologies for sustainable business model (SBM) development is also largely an unexplored area. For example, SBM incorporates a triple bottom line approach to contribute to a wide range of stakeholders, including economy, environment and society (Bocken et al., 2014; Wu et al., 2018). However, indicating to the significant research gap on the antecedent role of smart technology for SBM, Wu et al. (2018) argue that “there are essential and urgent needs to raise the awareness and call for attentions on how to innovate and energize (smart) ICTs (information and communication technologies) in order to best assist all nations to achieve the SDGs (sustainable development goals)” (p. 1), related to economic, environmental and societal welfare as the triple bottom lines of a SBM.

In the contemporary network economy (Asanuma, 2013; Kollmann and Christofor, 2014), cultural awareness is another important variable to consider while sustainably adapting smart technology to plan and implement SBM. Since, culture is the blend of values, beliefs and assumptions that an individual inherits from her/his early childhood (Hofstede et. al., 2010). Such cultural philosophies embedded in people’s mind since childhood, and influence their decision making, which appears as a dimension of difference in human behaviour in different culture (Steenkamp, 2001; Steenkamp and Kumar, 1999). Based on this individual cultural approach on different cultural viewpoints, different stakeholders, e.g. customers or suppliers estimate the substitute value propositions (Kotler, 2003), in relation to their culture-specific value anticipation. In the current ICT age, stakeholders are overwhelmed with information about the competitive value propositions (Berner and Tonder, 2003). Referring to such ICT-centred enormous flow of information, Murphie and Potts (2003) discuss that “the saturation of contemporary culture with technological speed: we live…in a ‘dromosphere’, or speed-space. The same applies to the mind (e.g. this speed-space impact on our attitudes)” (p. 37). However, we have significant lack in understanding on how cultural issues (e.g. attitudes, values, norms, ways of thinking etc.) would impact on sustainable adaptation of smart technology to plan and implement SBM, in addition to some recent studies on its peripheral area (Hasgall and Ahituv, 2018). Hasgall and Ahituv argue that “to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this (their study) is the first empirical research to study how functioning as a CAS (complex adapting system)…translates into attitudes (culture) toward technology innovation and to technology usage (adaptation) within organizations” (2018, p. 35).

Also, it is argued that “the volatile scenario of technological innovation” (Tebrga et al., 2018, p. 64) mainly considers technological diversification and adaptation as an organizational explorative activity; however, the exploitative prospect of technological diversification and adaptation is an overlooked area, which could limit the application of diversification and adaptation of technology (Pan et al., 2018). Since the society and the organizations are culturally broaden its horizons (Ray, 2014), and there are “important differences between assimilation (just incorporation) and adaptation (i.e. user friendliness of technology) of technology innovation” (Hasgall and Ahituv, 2018, p. 35); a scorching area with unexplored phenomena is the “impact of cultural issues on smart technology adaption for sustainable SBM”. The discussion thus far documented three substantial research gaps:
  • limited understanding of how organizations need to change to embrace technological innovations, and the business shifts they entail;
  • prospective implication of smart technologies for SBM development is largely an unexplored area, and
  • researchers just have started working in the recent years on the area of cultural issues and smart technology adaption for sustainable SBM.
In this context, this special issue aims to develop our understanding on the adaptation challenges and prospects of smart technologies to plan, implement and evaluate SBM in economic and cultural drift.

The Guest Editors encourage submissions of empirical, research and conceptual articles concerning how analysing different cultural, economic and technological variables would be instrumental to plan, implement and evaluate SBM to contribute to diverse socio-economic and ecological needs. The goal of this special issue is to attract rigorous research from scholars all over the world that will significantly contribute to the evolution of new thought in research and practice of the under-researched areas that are discussed in this call for papers.
 
Indicative list of anticipated themes:
  • impact of different economic and cultural issues on smart technologies (in particular IoT, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and blockchains)-centred SBM planning, implementation and evaluation;
  • implications of stakeholder relationship management and engagement for smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • organizational ambidexterity and smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift to contribute to the United Nations seventeen sustainable development goals, which can be retrieved from this link https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300 ;
  • ethical concerns, data privacy, right to data access, corporate social responsibility and smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • the explorative and exploitative perspectives of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift in a way that minimizes the role of ICT experts in the implementation of SBM to enable general users from other departments of an organization to effectively use the technology-centred SBM;
  • knowledge management and knowledge transfer between different organizations, and the role of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • cross-disciplinary and cross-functional studies on smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • public and private sector collaboration, and the role of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift in the context of emerging economies;
  • smart technologies and accounting and strategy issues;
  • comparison (differences and similarities) among different cultures to develop cross-cultural insights for smart technologies-centred SBM development;
  • smart city, smart governance, smart organization and the implications of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • small business enterprises and the role of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • the role of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift to bring the underprivileged communities (e.g. indigenous people, migrants, communities in the conflict regions and others) into the mainstream business and social arenas; 
  • the role of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift to not only to ensure how we could proactively reach to our target markets, but also, to ensure how we could sensibly protect consumer and human rights;
  • the role of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift in different sectors and industries, e.g. healthcare, education and others;
  • social business and the implications of smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift;
  • future research propositions/directions/visions on smart technologies-centred SBM development in economic and cultural drift.
Submissions
Papers should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system available through the journal homepage http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/md

When submitting please choose the special issue: “Smart technologies for sustainable business model: Adaptation challenges and prospects in economic and cultural drift”  as the article type from the drop down menu.

All papers must follow the guidelines outlined by the journal for submission, available at:
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=MD

For any questions interested authors can contact the corresponding guest editor:
Rosa Lombardi (rosa.lombardi@uniroma1.it)
 
Submission deadline: 20th July 2019

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