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Novel and Integrative Theoretical Approaches to Exploring Contemporary Sustainability Issues in Business Contexts

In the modern day business contexts, sustainability is emerging as a priority in both practitioner and researcher agendas. In broader terms, sustainability connotes meeting the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Especially in business contexts, the triple bottom line approach calls for striking a proper balance between people (Society), planet (Environment) & profit (Self-interest). Thus, various stakeholders having collective interest in ensuring wellbeing of society and the environment call for sustainable conduct of business activities through adopting a holistic approach to resolving contemporary sustainability issues.

Although there is consensus among many stakeholders about the need to ensure sustainability in business contexts, there are still some ‘unknowns’ and ‘inconsistencies’ about what ought to be the right approach(s) to tackling contemporary sustainability issues affecting businesses. We believe that proper understanding of issues through research using rich theoretical approaches must precede any policy deliberations and subsequent practical implementations.

It is evident from previous research on sustainability in business contexts, that numerous theoretical approaches have been employed to understand the sustainability issues. Among them, dominant social paradigm, environmental concern models & theories, values-beliefs-norms theory, skepticism models & theories, macro/market/institutional systems theories, stakeholder theory, resource-based view, resource advantage theory, green supply chain theories, regulatory focus theory, theory of planned behaviour, theory of reasoned action, socio-psychological theories and construal level theories are commonly used.

Given the intricacies of and the need of holistic approach(s) to understand the multiple antecedents and outcomes of contemporary sustainability issues affecting business firms, this virtual special issue aims to shed more light on the phenomenon by encouraging researchers to come up with novel and integrative theoretical approaches. Understanding and making more sense of current issues through such theoretical approaches are bound to lead us to developing effective practical solutions.

For the purpose of this virtual special issue, we define a novel and integrative theoretical approach as one, which combines two or more theoretical approaches to form an effective composite approach that is far superior to a single theoretical approach. Theoretical approaches could take the form of multidisciplinary (from the perspective of many disciplines applied separately), transdisciplinary (from a perspective that recognizes points of intersection among otherwise separate disciplines), pluridisciplinary (from a perspective that recognizes some overlap among disciplines, but preserves their distinctiveness) and interdisciplinary (from a perspective that synthesizes disciplines, but applies the result as a coherent whole).

In this special issue, therefore, we welcome conceptual and empirical papers that endeavor to better explain sustainability issues affecting business firms, addressing the criteria detailed above. New theory development and novel application of existing theories in business contexts, which include but are not necessary limited to the pursuit of the triple bottom line, are also welcome. Preference is given to manuscripts that highlight the theoretical contributions of the scholarship of sustainability in business contexts.

Chandana Hewege
Chamila Perera

Guest Editors

Submission Deadline: 15 August 2019

Online Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online through Hapres Online Submission System. Please visit Guide for Authors before submitting a manuscript. Authors are encouraged to submit a paper as soon as it is ready and don’t need to wait until the deadline. Submissions will be sent to peer-review in order of arrival. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the Journal of Sustainability Research and then gathered together on the special issue webpage. We welcome Research articles, Review papers and Short Communications.

See Papers Published in This Special Issue


Virtual Special Issue (VSI) is a collection of papers centered around a specific topic, led by an expert (Guest Editor) in the field. Virtual Special Issues are an important component of our journal and cover current hot topics within the scope of the journal.

All papers belonging to a Virtual Special Issue will be gathered together on a single webpage. They are published in the regular issues of the journal as soon as publishable, and labeled as belonging to the Virtual Special Issue. A link from each paper will take you to the Virtual Special Issue website.

Submissions to Virtual Special Issues will undergo the same rigorous peer-review process as regular papers submitted to the journal.

Guest Editors

  • Chandana Hewege

    Department of Business Technology and Entrepreneurship, Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology

  • Chamila Perera

    Department of Management and Marketing, Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology

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