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Conference Papers Year : 2014

Sustainable Management and Performance in SMEs: A French Case Study


Nowadays, sustainable management seems more likely to be a guarantee of competitiveness for companies, regardless of their size or sector of activity. Besides offering those strategic opportunities, sustainable management practices also play a significant role in gaining acceptance and legitimacy in the marketplace. Moreover, SMEs are continually researching ways to improve their performance. In terms of global performance, sustainable innovations appear as a new form of classical innovation (Nidumolu et al., 2009) with a strong collective dimension. The relationship between sustainability and company performance has interested researchers for twenty years, even if the academic results (1) often remain controversial and (2) are mostly focused on bigger companies. The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how sustainable management practices help in achieving global performance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Global performance considers social, environmental and societal issues in addition to economic performance. The first part of the paper looks at the relationship between sustainability and performance in the context of SMEs. The second part uses a French case study to illustrate how an industrial SME can implement sustainable management and translate this into improved performance. The analysis of this case study shows how the transition from risk management to sustainable management allows an improvement in global company performance. These sustainable management practices are supported by a triple QSE (Quality Security Environment) certification which seems to have played a role of catalyst for innovation in the company by encouraging the will to reconcile the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social). To resume, this paper illustrates that sustainable management can be a catalyst for innovation in industrial SMEs. It also confirms the findings of Porter and Kramer (2006) that sustainability associated with innovation constitutes a label of performance.
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emse-01010704 , version 1 (27-03-2020)


  • HAL Id : emse-01010704 , version 1


Sandrine Berger-Douce. Sustainable Management and Performance in SMEs: A French Case Study. ICSB 2014 World Conference, Jun 2014, Dublin, Ireland. 11p. ⟨emse-01010704⟩
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