Fostering Sustainability in Small Island Developing States: Cases from the Dominican Republic


According to the United Nations (UNEP, 2014), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) include low-lying coastal countries that share similar sustainable development challenges, including small population, limited resources, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, or excessive dependence on international trade. 

The Dominican Republic is a small Caribbean SIDS that shares the Hispaniola Island with Haiti (two countries of vastly diverse cultures, Per Capita GDP, living standards, infrastructure development, and political context). Attracted by its (still) abundant natural beauty, beach and night life, and what many see as human “warmth”, relaxed pace of life and welcoming population, The Dominican Republic received 4.995.912 tourists in 2021 (TurisDom, 2022). The country has more than 700 hotels rooms (BCRD, 2019). Tourism generated 11.8 % of the GDP, 16.7 % of the country’s employment in 2021, and the sector accounted for 28.9% of the total year exports (WTTC, 2022). Beyond this sector and its associated risks, the Dominican Republic remains one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change (Scott, Simpson, & Sim, 2012), performs poorly in several social and environmental rankings (Yale University, 2016), and its position in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index is low (ranking 78, according to the World Economic Forum, 2019). Overall, its corruption levels are extremely high (ranked 130 in the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, 2021). Around 23.85 % of the population lives below the poverty line (Dominicantoday, 2022), and around  53% of the population in 2016 worked in the informal economy, with no access to social benefits such as medical care, old age pensions, job training or accident insurance (Cedeño, 2018). Overall the country suffers from high levels of wealth inequality (it ranks 80 in the Human Development Index ranking; UNDP, 2022) But it is in this convoluted, challenging context, where the private and very influential sector has a tremendous opportunity to shape key pathways towards sustainable development.

In this special issue we invite case submissions that are substantially located in the Dominican Republic. We are encouraging exemplary cases (dilemmatic, engaged-storytelling) that showcase shared value creation initiatives (Porter & Kramer 2006, 2011) or sustainability-oriented perspectives: cases in which businesses or other organizations foster simultaneous economic and social/environmental value, while creating meaningful impact and “win-win” initiatives, oriented towards the long-term.

The list below does not form an exhaustive list, but merely provides an orientation to contributors to this special issue centered on The Dominican Republic. Hence, the cases may portray decision-making by protagonists on issues such as the following:

  •  How can organizations in non-tourism sectors directly contribute to positive sustainability impacts in the country?
  •  How can small business managers help their organizations to thrive economically, while addressing some of the pressing social or environmental issues of The Dominican Republic?
  • What drivers of innovation can executives mobilize in a country where there are important talent and expertise gaps?
  • How can family firms and small entrepreneurial initiatives engage both locally and internationally, to help their business case and local development priorities?
  • How can executives deal with and influence positively the complex national institutional context – e.g., to foster “responsible lobbying”?
  • How can “keystone actors” (firms and powerful businesspeople enjoying enormous influence) shape pathways that privilege not only their “narrow” business interests, but that also translate into broader societal good?
  • How can managers foster partnerships to galvanize and scale up sustainable development through socially-oriented initiatives – e.g., around education, poverty, living standards, inequality, etc?
  • How can key actors from the island preserve and foster its colonial heritage, while looking forward to more sustainable tourism, social and economic activities?
  • How can businesspeople from the private sector be “part of the solution” to preserve natural resources and address key environmental challenges (e.g., climate, water, food, pollution, etc).
  • Which forms of management and leadership already mobilized in the island may be more inspiring for the new generations and future responsible leaders?
  • What lessons can managers from other Small Island Developing States learn from this country?

Author guidelines

Following the Author Guidelines of the journal Emerging Markets Case Studies, the Guest Editor welcomes cases written about real people, in real organizations, who have to make real decisions. Cases can be developed from primary and/or secondary data. Cases can have some information disguised which will need to be outlined in your research methods section in the teaching note, and the real individuals and/or company need to provide consent for the publication of the disguised case. We do not publish fictional cases. Submission to the collection must include a Teaching Case Study and associated teaching note. Please ensure that you have met the following quality criteria before submission. Complete guidelines are available in the journal website:  

To submit your case first create an author account,, then follow the on-screen guidance. Please select the correct Special issue title (Fostering Sustainability in Small Island Developing States: Cases from the Dominican Republic) when prompted to choose from issue options. Please note: the submission portal will open in Q2 2023, please do not try to submit before this. If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the EMCS Publisher, Melissa Close at [email protected].

All cases will be double-blind peer-reviewed before acceptance.

Submissions: Deadline September 30th, 2023

Further Information:

Please contact the guest editors for further information: [email protected]

About the Guest Editors:

José Ramón Pin is the Chancellor of the Univesidad del Atlántico Medio in Spain, and an Emeritus Professor of IESE’s Department of Managing People in Organizations. Professor Pin has been a member of the Madrid City Council, a representative of the Madrid regional government and a member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies. He also sits on various Boards of Directors.

Jose Alcaraz is a faculty member ("Enseignant-Chercheur", equivalent to Associate Professor) at ESDES Lyon Business School in France, and a Research Fellow at Munich Business School. He has published in journals such as The Academy of Management Learning & Education, German Journal of Human Resource Management, Information and Organization, Organization, Business & Society, Competitiveness Review, Work, Employment & Society, etc.

Fernando Barrero is the Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Barna Management School in The Dominican Republic. His training includes executive education at Harvard Business School, Cornell University, Universitaet Freiburg, IESES Business School, Universitaet von Hannover, etc. He has actively researched on entrepreneurial clusters and related topics. As an entrepreneurship himself, he has been awarded several national recognitions for his business plans in Colombia.


BCRD (2022). Estadísticas Sector real.

Cedeño, M. (2018). La informalidad laboral en el contexto del desarrollo social; Observatorio de Políticas sociales y Desarrollo, Vicepresidencia de la República. 2 (12), 1-6

Cord, L., Genoni, M.E., & Rodriguez-Castelan, C. (2015). Shared prosperity and poverty eradication in Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank. Washington, DC

Coinceicao, P. (2022) Uncertain times, unsettled lives Shaping our future in a transforming world. Human Development report 2021/2022, New York N.Y…

Dominicantoday. (2022, April,12). Dominican poverty: from 23.36% to 23.85% in 2021.

Schwab, K. The Global Competitiveness Report (2019). World Economic Forum 2019

Scott, D., Simpson, M.C., & Sim, R. (2012). The vulnerability of Caribbean coastal tourism to scenarios of climate change related sea level rise. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 20(6), 883–898.

Transparency International (2021).  Corruption Perceptions Index.

TurisDom (2022, January,6). En 2021 llegaron 1.4995.412 turistas a República Dominicana.

UNEP (2014). Our planet. Small Island Developing States.: UNEP NYC

Yale University. (2016). Environmental performance index 2016: Full report and analysis. Retrieved from

WTTC. Travel & Tourism Economic Impact | World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Economic Impact reports Dominican Republic. London, U.K.

Human Development Report. (2022) 2021/22 uncertain times, unsettled lives: shaping our future in a transforming world. United Nations Development Programme New York N.Y