This page is older archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website.

As such, it may not display exactly as originally intended.

Business and Sustainability: Innovating for a Better World

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Management Development


Mark Smith, Grenoble Ecole de Management
Fabien Martinez, Academy of Business in Society and Vlerick Business School
Mark Esposito, Grenoble Ecole de Management and University of Cambridge, CISL
Patrick O’Sullivan, Grenoble Ecole de Management

About the Special Issue

The special issue will focus on social innovation, with a particular attention to exploring the ways in which innovation can serve to create better and more integrated social, environmental and economic business enterprises. Decades of empirical and conceptual research into corporate social responsibility, sustainability, corporate citizenship and business ethics have ushered management thinkers and practitioners into deeper knowledge of the broader socio-ecological challenges of business activities and practices, as well as the resources and capabilities that are required to manage these challenges. Some scholars, particularly contingency theorists, point to an important gap in this literature: the failure to provide comprehensive solutions for aligning business enterprises with the socio-ecological realities of our time. The tendency of business actors to rely on, and of management research to support, instrumental and ‘endogenous’ innovations for productivity/efficiency gains means that the necessity to deal with a combination of institutional, economic, political, organisational and social contingencies which might either impede or facilitate a firm’s sustainability performance has been overlooked.

The articles selected for this special issue will contribute to a burgeoning stream of management research that recognises the potential of ‘social innovation’ as a conceptual resource that will help us understand how business organisations can engage more substantively to avert (and perhaps reverse) their negative impact on society. The concept of social innovation might be taken to encompass a variety of possible research directions. This includes for example institutional innovation regarding the structure and organisation of companies and their relationships with stakeholders; innovative socially responsible and sustainable financing; social innovation from bottom of pyramid situations in emerging economies and designed to foster socially sustainable inclusive development; the potential role of innovative clusters in promoting sustainable competitive development in whole regions; innovation in the manner of measurement of company performance in CSR and sustainability; innovation in the measurement of overall social performance of communities and states.

The special issue is linked to the Doctoral Summer School for the Academy of Business in Society hosted at Grenoble Ecole de Management and welcomes submissions from participants and the wider community. We seek papers making empirical and theoretical contributions, applying a variety of methods, in the following areas:

  • Social innovation and social progress in the broadest sense
  • Innovations which can help to create a better and more harmonious world.
  • Innovations addressing world including injustice in emerging economies, underemployment and unemployment, income and wealth inequalities, global climate change, aging populations, access to healthcare and gender inequalities.
  • The full range of organizational agents, communities and institutions likely to be actors in the various social fields, for example NGOs, social entrepreneurs, corporations, foundations, governments, international institutions, labour confederations and universities.
  • Emerging business models likely to promote social innovation and lead to social benefits
  • Ways in which new practices, new ways of thinking, acting and interacting and new actors can improve the world come within the ambit of socially responsible innovation.
  • Emerging concepts to promote social innovation including shared value, conscious capitalism and of social progress imperative.

This is not an exhaustive list.


Full papers for this special edition must be with the editors by November 17th, 2014. All submissions will be subject to a double blind review process. We anticipate the special issue will be published in September 2015.

How to Submit

Please submit directly to the special issue through ScholarOne Manuscripts: If you require any assistance, please contact [email protected]. You must quote the journal name and special issue title with their enquiry.


Mark Smith : [email protected]
Fabien Martinez: [email protected]
Mark Esposito : [email protected]
Patrick O’Sullivan : [email protected]