Sustainable value chain management based on dynamic capabilities in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Author:Graziela Breitenbauch de Moura, Letícia Godoy Saroli
Publication Date:30 Nov 2020
Sustainable value chain
management based on dynamic
capabilities in small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Graziela Breitenbauch de Moura
Mestrado Profissional em Gest~
ao de Pol
ıticas P
ublicas and Escola de Neg
Universidade do Vale do Itaja
ı-UNIVALI, Itaja
ı, Brazil, and
ıcia Godoy Saroli
Escola de Neg
ocios, Universidade do Vale do Itaja
ı-UNIVALI, Itaja
ı, Brazil
Purpose The aim of this research is to analyze sustainable value chain management based on dynamic
capabilities in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Design/methodology/approach A qualitative methodology is used, through a multiple case study with
three SMEs, to identify the conceptual relationship between the sustainable value chain and dynamic
capabilities. Interviews are conducted with managers, and the data are analyzed through content analysis.
Findings It is observed that breaking down barriers in processes is important for establishing the
sustainable value chain, generating dynamic capabilities with the readaptation of activities.
Research limitations/implications It is recommended that studies be conducted in other sectors and in
large companies, to identify new perspectives.
Practical implications The findings of this study demonstratethe constant processes of SMEs in response
to legal, bureaucratic and logistical changes, in the generation of dynamic capabilities and sustainable value
chain management, to achieve their customersgoals.
Social implications The research contributes to the literature on the management of dynamic capabilities
in the value chain in Brazilian companies and to the supply chain field, particularly in relation to SMEs.
Originality/value This research analyzes sustainable value chain management based on dynamic
capabilities in Brazilian SMEs, gathering the managersperceptions regarding changes in the external
environment that influence adaptations and alignments, impacting on their businesses.
Keywords Sustainable value chain, Dynamic capabilities, Small and medium-sized enterprises
Paper type Case study
Value chain sustainability is a series of competitive advantages (Seuring and M
uller, 2008;
Sarkis et al., 2011) that meet the demand for environmentally and socially responsible
products (Kirci and Seifert, 2015). It can be defined as a methodology developed to align all the
production activities in a synchronized way, in order to reduce costs, minimize cycles and
maximize the value perceived by the end customer, by breaking down barriers between
departments and areas and promoting better performance (Wood et al., 1998;Pakdeechoho
and Sukhotu, 2018).
In strategicmanagement, resourcesthat give a company competitiveadvantage aredefined
as dynamic capabilities (Teece and Pisano, 2004) that influence the value chain management
(Beske, 2009;2012;Beske et al., 2014;Masteikaand Cepinskis, 2015;Alonso-Almeida etal.,2017)
due to the rapiddemand for change of consumptionin the dynamic businessenvironment and
can create internal competencies for SMEs (Kirci and Seifert, 2015;Hong et al.,2018). This
The authors gratefully acknowledge support for this research from the Artigo 171 FUMDES/Governo
do Estado de Santa Catarina/UNIVALI - Brazil and thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their
many helpful suggestions.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 29 January 2020
Revised 5 May 2020
12 August 2020
18 September 2020
Accepted 18 September 2020
The International Journal of
Logistics Management
Vol. 32 No. 1, 2021
pp. 168-189
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/IJLM-01-2020-0044
research focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to develop new
products,services and strategiesthrough their capabilities,in order to reposition themselves in
the market and generate greater value. Understanding how SMEs can achieve strategic
changes throughthe value chain, repositioningtheir organizations and creatinggreater value
in the design and development of new products,is important for businesses. Explainingwhat
SMEs develop, especially in the final value chain, can help us to understand and capturethe
transformationsand ideas that are generated for a sustainable environment.
SMEs need to survive by improving their dynamic supply chain resources in order to
ensure competitiveness, retaining their position in the market by adapting to customers
requirements and overcoming the numerous barriers that they face in their operations.
Understanding this phenomenon in the context of SMEs, with the special circumstances that
these enterprises face, enables us to examine the dynamic capabilities that have been created
or readapted and the resources that have been incorporated into supply chain management
(Beske et al., 2014,Masteika and Cepinskis, 2015). This influence of dynamic capabilities
needs to be better understood in the context of Brazilian SMEs, in supply chain management.
Thus, the central question of this study is: How do Brazilian SMEs generate dynamic
capabilities that enable them to achieve a sustainable environment in their value chain?
The aim of this research is to analyze sustainable value chain management based on
dynamic capabilities in SMEs. A literature review was carried out on the value chain
approach and dynamic capabilities, revealing how SMEs develop their sustainable value
chain management in the expansion of their dynamic capabilities.
This research is justified by the importance of this theme for companies in the
management of integrated systems and processes. The use of the value chain management
tool brings numerous benefits to companies, such as: increasing the amount of available
information, providing support for decision-making and improving the effectiveness of
production and sales planning, among other aspects. The originality of this work lies in the
importance of identifying the dynamic capabilities that are generated and adapted (Aslam
et al., 2018;Hong et al., 2018), especially the context of an emerging country (Esfahbodi et al.,
2016;Pakdeechoho et al., 2018) such as Brazil, in the context of Brazilian SMEs, for supply
chain management with the external environment in qualitative studies (Aslam et al., 2018).
The study of value chain management is still relatively limited when it comes to empirical
research and case studies (Esfahbodi et al.,2016;Wang et al.,2016,Hong et al.,2018;Bokolo,
2019), particularly on the theme of dynamic capabilities (Beske, 2012). This study therefore
increases knowledge in the areas of management, internal and external partners (Kirci and
Seifert, 2015) and processes and structures of SMEs, for the development of sustainable products.
Monkhouse(1995) emphasizes that SMEs areoften unable to analyze their own capabilities
or investigate their own failures. The author argues that this problem is compounded by the
failure of SMEs to gainsupport from state-owned enterprises.Undoubtedly, these weaknesses
can underminethe ability of SMEsto reposition themselveson the value chain. Therefore,there
is still a lack of empirical evidence on how companies use the value creationproposition in
their strategies andwhether or not they actually achieve it (Noke and Hughes, 2010).
The study is structured as follows: The first section presents the literature review on
sustainable management of the value chain, dynamic capacities and recent studies on the two
relationships; the second outlines the research methodology; the third describes the results of
the empirical research, and the final section offers some final considerations of the work.
Theoretical background
Sustainable management of the value chain
Products and services can be differentiated (Levitra, 1980), through the companys offer or
through quality, innovation and technology, design, finishing, forms of operating, generating
value chain

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