REMINDER: A special issue of *Administrative Sciences*
<> (ISSN 2076-3387).

"The Crossroads between Digitalization and Sustainability: Implications for
Societies, Markets, and Firms"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2019

*Guest editors:*
*Francisco Javier Forcadell*
*Elisa Aracil *

Firms commit to sustainability in order to meet stakeholders needs (Crane
et al, 2008) whilst they innovate to convert demand changes into wealth
opportunities (Forcadell & Aracil, 2017, 2019; Mishra, 2017). There is an
important amount of research linking innovation and sustainability from
different angles (Barnett, 2007; Ratajczak and Szutowski, 2016). From a
macro perspective, the process by which sustainable strategies at the
company-level scale up to the macro level was addressed by the United
Nations in the Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015). This initiative
constitutes the most important program aimed at fostering sustainability in
collaboration with governments and private companies (Horn and Grugel,
2018). The Sustainable Development Goals directly approach industry
innovation as one of the specific goals as well as indirectly in most of
the goals.

In this Special Issue, we are interested in extending and deepening
analyses of the relationship between sustainability and digitalization. The
body of literature on the sustainability–digitalization relationship is
still at the embryonic stage (Brenner, 2018) with few exceptions (Flyverbom
et al, 2019; Scherer et al, 2016). Digitalization of business activity is
referred to the strategic transition from a traditional to a digital
approach (Barnir et al, 2003), affecting the business as a whole (Bleicher
and Stanley, 2016; Steiber and Alange, 2015). The digitalization process,
as opposed to earlier technological advances, is sudden. In particular, the
Internet conceptualizes a rapidly changing environment (Eisenhardt and
Sull, 2001; Salmador and Bueno, 2005) in terms of industry definition and
strategy-formation processes. Today, 40% of the world’s population is
digitally connected versus just 5% in 1995 (OECD, 2018). This means that we
are in the early stages of the digital era, which opens up a wide range of
opportunities but also presents important challenges for firms and society
as a whole. The imperative digital transformation grants a deep
rearrangement of industry boundaries, shifts in consumer preferences, and a
strong remodeling of how competitors and stakeholders interact with the
organization. In this context, digital technologies offer the opportunity
to create competitive advantages whilst, at the same time, they constitute
a challenge to survive in this hyper-dynamic environment. From a firm-level
perspective, digitalization allows firms to increase their efficiency
(Loebbecke and Picot, 2015) and reach new clients and/or markets (Autio and
Zander, 2016). From an individual perspective, digitalization meets the
requirements of agility, transparency, and 24/7 product availability. From
a society level, digitalization can improve productivity growth, transform
private and public services and enhance social wellbeing (OECD, 2018).
However, there are several drawbacks within the digital transformation,
such as its impact on jobs whereby is human labour being replaced by
machines (Loebbecke and Picot, 2015) as well as important issues regarding
data collection, security and privacy.

The rise of the digitalization is urging us to rethink corporate
sustainability. We are particularly interested in considering novel
concepts in new contexts and developing new relationships to enhance our
theoretical and managerial understanding of sustainability in the digital
age. This Special Issue invites contributions that extend existing research
on sustainability by incorporating the current digital environment.
Contributions to this Special Issue should relate to corporate
sustainability and digitalization from a broad-minded perspective regarding
phenomena, contexts and theoretical approaches. We encourage wide-ranging
methodological approaches, including conceptual, quantitative or
qualitative papers. Specifically, we view the potential for advancement in
this field on the following levels: society (country, institutions, and
developed vs. developing), industry/market and firm (corporate, competitive
and intra-firm). Specific topics within the intended scope of this Special
Issue include, but are not restricted to, the following:


   - Negative effects of digitalization. For example, how are firms dealing
   with challenges associated with loss of privacy and security in the
   treatment of personal data? How are individuals coping with diseases (i.e.,
   nomofobia) associated with the intensive use of technological devices?
   - Which specific features within a particular institutional setting
   enable or prevent the development of strategies related to digitalization
   and sustainability. For example, how do born-global firms design and
   implement sustainable strategies when expanding internationally across
   different institutional settings?
   - How is digitalization challenging stakeholders’ power status quo and
   how can this affect a firm’s sustainability strategy.
   - How does the digital transformation enable MNCs and other agents to
   better address the Sustainable Development Goals challenge?
   - How do private organizations’ sustainable initiatives scale up to the
   macro level? Does the digital transformation allow the scope and reach of
   firms’ sustainable actions to be extended?
   - Which specific domains within sustainability (i.e., environmental,
   social or governance) are more affected by the digital transformation?
   - What is the potential for digitalization to facilitate access to
   specific products and services by the bottom-of-the-pyramid?
   - What are innovative measurements to advance the quantification of both
   digitalization and sustainability?


   - Is there a link between digital disruption and sustainable engagement?
   For example, are incumbent firms facing digital disruption from new
   entrants based on a differentiated sustainable-related approach or
   - How do sustainable strategies complement, foster and/or enhance
   corporate digitalization efforts?
   - From the demand perspective, how do consumers perceive the
   sustainability strategies in the digital era? Which attributes do they
   value most?
   - Are there differences in the combination of sustainability and
   digitalization among industries, for example, services sectors vs.
   manufacturing industries?
   - Digitalization promotes a creative destruction process that devastates
   certain industries and at the same time allows the emergence of new ones.
   What is the role of corporate sustainability in this context?


   - How do companies react to the threats associated with digitalization?
   Do they implement combined strategies that involve, at the same time,
   digital and sustainable actions?
   - Which new business opportunities have emerged from the intersection
   between digital business models and sustainability?
   - Do different categories of digital transformation, i.e., business,
   processes and business model innovations, promote various sustainable
   initiatives with different levels of intensity?
   - Do individual-level characteristics (i.e., managers, company founders’
   education and/or values) promote the corporate engagement of sustainability
   in the context of digitalization?

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