Knowledge, Innovation and Sustainability: Past Literature and Future Trends

  • Cristina Fernandes
  • João J. Ferreira
  • Pedro M. Veiga
  • Marta Peris-Ortiz
Part of the Innovation, Technology, and Knowledge Management book series (ITKM)


Knowledge, innovation and sustainability are topics very well recognized in the business and management literature and beyond of this field. These subjects seem fundamental to the companies for them to survive and to win in an increasingly globalized world, but how do they appear interconnected on the literature? As research in this area has related these concepts and how these themes have emerged over time, to demonstrate their relevance to this field of science is one of the objectives of this study. Therefore, our study aims to map scientific publications, intellectual structure and research trends on knowledge, innovation and sustainability. Our contribution is precisely to find the theoretical approaches present in the different investigations on this field and to promote the discussion of future agenda.


Knowledge Innovation Sustainability Bibliometric analysis 


  1. Acs, Z. J., Audretsch, D. B., Braunerhjelm, P., & Carlsson, B. (2006). The knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship, CESIS Electronic Working Paper Series.Google Scholar
  2. Acs, Z., & Audretsch, D. (1988). Innovation in large and small firms: An empirical analysis. American Economic Review, 78(4), 678–690.Google Scholar
  3. Acs, Z., & Varga, A. (2005). Entrepreneurship, agglomeration and technological change. Small Business Economics, 31, 630–640.Google Scholar
  4. Adams, R., Jeanrenaud, S., Bessant, J., Denyer, D., & Overy, P. (2016). Sustainability oriented innovation: A systematic review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 18, 180e205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andersson, M., & Hellerstedt, K. (2009). Location attributes and start-ups in knowledge-intensive business services. Industry & Innovation, 16(1), 103–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Audretsch, D. B., & Lehmann, E. E. (2005). Does the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship hold for regions? Research Policy, 34(8), 1191–1202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Banbury, C. M. & Mitchell, W. (1995). The effect of introducing important incremental innovations on market share and business survival. Strategic Management Journal (summer special issue), 16, 161–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bettencourt, L. M. A., Lobo, J., Helbing, D., Kuehnert, C., & West, G. B. (2007). Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(17), 7301–7306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bos-Brouwers, H. E. J. (2010). Corporate sustainability and innovation in SMEs: Evidence of themes and activities in practice. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19(7), 417–435.Google Scholar
  11. Capaldo, A. (2007). Network structure and innovation: The leveraging of a dual network as a distinctive relational capability. Strategic Management Journal, 28(6), 585–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chambers, D. A., Glasgow, R. E., & Stange, K. C. (2013). The dynamic sustainability framework: Addressing the paradox of sustainment amid ongoing change. Implementation Science, 8, 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cheng, C., Lai, M., & Wu, W. (2010). Exploring the impact of innovation strategy on R&D employees job satisfaction: A mathematical model and empirical research. Technovation, 30, 459–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clark, W. C., Tomich, T. P., van Noordwijk, M., Guston, D., Catacutan, D., Dickson, N. M., & McNie, E. (2016). Boundary work for sustainable development: Natural resource management at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(17), 4615–4622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Damschroder, L. J., Aron, D. C., Keith, R. E., Kirsh, S. R., Alexander, J. A., & Lowery, J. C. (2009). Fostering implementation of health services research findings into practice: A consolidated framework for advancing implementation science. Implementation Science, 4, 50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dangelico, R. M., & Pujari, D. (2010). Mainstreaming green product innovation: Why and how companies integrate environmental sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 95, 471–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doloreux, D., & Melancon, Y. (2008). On the dynamics of innovation in Quebec’s coastal maritime industry. Technovation, 28, 231–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Drazin, R. & Schoonhoven, C. B. (1996). Community, population, and organization effects on innovation: A multilevel perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 39(5), 1065–1083.Google Scholar
  19. Drucker, P. (1985). Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Practice and Principals. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  20. Fernandes, C., & Ferreira, J. (2014). Knowledge spillovers: Cooperation between universities and KIBS. R&D in Management, 43(5), 461–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fernandes, C., Veiga, P., Peris-Ortiz, M., & Rueda-Armengot, C. (2017). What impact does innovation and sustainable entrepreneurship have on competitiveness? Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development, 8(3), 56–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fishman, B., Marx, R. W., Blumenfeld, P., Krajcik, J., & Soloway, E. (2004). Creating a framework for research on systemic technology innovations. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 43–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Geels, F. W. (2005a). Processes and patterns in transitions and system innovations: Refining the co-evolutionary multi-level perspective. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 72(6), 681–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Geels, F. W. (2005b). The dynamics of transitions in socio-technical systems: A multi-level analysis of the transition pathway from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles (1860–1930). Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 17(4), 445–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hansen, E. G., Grosse-Dunker, F., & Reichwald, R. (2009). Sustainability innovation cube: A framework to evaluate sustainability-oriented innovations. International. Journal of Innovation and Management, 13, 683e713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hart, S. L. (1995). A natural-resource-based view of the firm. Academy of Management Review, 20, 986e1014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hawkins, D. T. (1977). Unconventional uses of on-line information retrieval systems: On-line bibliometric studies. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 28(1), 13–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Horn, C., & Brem, A. (2013). Strategic directions on innovation management: A conceptual framework. Management Research Review, 36, 939e954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hu, J., & Hsu, Y. (2008). The more interactive, the more innovative? A case study of South Korean cellular phone manufacturers. Technovation, 28, 75–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hua, S., & Wemmerlov, U. (2006). Product change intensity, product advantage, and market performance: An empirical investigation of the PC industry. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23, 316–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huizingh, E. K. R. E. (2011). Open innovation: State of the art and future perspectives. TECHNOVATION, 31(1, SI), 2–9. Scholar
  32. Hwang, A. (2004). Integrating technology marketing and management innovation. Research Technology Management, 47(4), 27–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jackson, S. E., Schuler, R. S., & Jiang, K. (2014). An aspirational framework for strategic human resource management. Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 1–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jenkins, H. (2009). A `business opportunity’ model of corporate social responsibility for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Business Ethics-A European Review, 18(1), 21–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kaminski, P., de Oliveira, A., & Lopes, T. M. (2008). Knowledge transfer in product development processes: A case study in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of the metal mechanic sector from São Paulo, Brazil. Technovation, 28, 29–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kemp, R. (1994). Technology and the transition to environmental sustainability – the problem of technological regime shifts. Futures, 26(10), 1023–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Keskin, D., Diehl, J. C., & Molenaar, N. (2013). Innovation process of new ventures driven by sustainability. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45, 50–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lebel, L., Anderies, J. M., Campbell, B., Folke, C., Hatfield-Dodds, S., Hughes, T. P., & Wilson, J. (2006). Governance and the capacity to manage resilience in regional social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 11(1), 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lemon, M. & Sahota, P. (2004). Organizational culture as a knowledge repository for increased innovative capacity. Technovation, 24, 483–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McCormick, K., Anderberg, S., Coenen, L., & Neij, L. (2013). Advancing sustainable urban transformation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 50, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mention, A. (2011). Co-operation and co-opetition as open innovation practices in the service sector: Which influence on innovation novelty? Tehnovation, 31, 44–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mutschke, P., Mayr, P., Schaer, P., & Sure, Y. (2011). Science models as value-added services for scholarly information systems. Scientometrics, 89(1), 349–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nassauer, J. I., & Opdam, P. (2008). Design in science: Extending the landscape ecology paradigm. Landscape Ecology, 23(6), 633–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nelson, R. R., & Winter, S. G. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Nidumolu, R., Prahalad, C. K., & Rangaswami, M. R. (2009). Why sustainability is now the key driver of innovation. Harvard Business Review, 87, 56e64.Google Scholar
  46. Osareh, F. (1996). Bibliometrics, citation analysis and co-citation analysis: A review of Literature I. Libri, 46(3), 149–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pagell, M., & Shevchenko, A. (2014). Why research in sustainable supply chain management should have no future. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 50(1), 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Penrose, E. (1959). The theory of the growth of the firm. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Riddel, M., & Schwer, R. (2003). Regional innovative capacity with endogenous employment: Empirical evidence from the US. The Review of Regional Studies, 33(1), 73–84.Google Scholar
  50. Roberts, P., & Amit, R. (2003). The dynamics of innovative activity and competitive advantage: The case of Australian retail banking, 1981 to 1995. Organization Science, 14(2), 107–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Schumpeter, J. A. (1939). Business cycles. New York: McGraw – Hill.Google Scholar
  53. Schumpeter, J. A. (1942). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  54. Seebode, D., Jeanrenaud, S., & Bessant, J. (2012). Managing innovation for sustainability. R&D Management, 42, 195e206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sharma, S., & Vredenburg, H. (1998). Proactive corporate environmental strategy and the development of competitively valuable organizational capabilities. Strategic Management Journal, 19, 729e753.Google Scholar
  56. Smits, R. (2002). Innovation studies in the 21st century: Questions from a user’s perspective. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 69(9), 861–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Som, C., Berges, M., Chaudhry, Q., Dusinska, M., Fernandes, T. F., Olsen, S. I., & Nowack, B. (2010). The importance of life cycle concepts for the development of safe nanoproducts. Toxicology, 269(2–3, SI), 160–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Souitaris, V. (2002). Technological trajectories as moderators of firm-level determinants of innovation. Research Policy, 31, 877–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sovacool, B. K., & Mukherjee, I. (2011). Conceptualizing and measuring energy security: A synthesized approach. Energy, 36(8), 5343–5355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stough, R. (2003). Strategic management of places and policy. Annals of Regional Science, 37(1), 179–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Thomsom Reuters (2008). Using bibliometrics: A guide to evaluating research performance with citation data (Retrieved). Retrieved from
  62. Tidd, J., Bessant, J., & Pavitt, K. (1997). Managing Innovation. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  63. Tushman, M., & O’Reilly, C. (1997). Winning through innovation: A practical guide to leading organizational change and renewal. III. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  64. van Kleef, J. A. G., & Roome, N. J. (2007). Developing capabilities and competence for sustainable business management as innovation: A research agenda. Journal of Clean Production, 15, 38e51.Google Scholar
  65. Varga, A. (2000). Local academic knowledge spillovers and the concentration of economic activity. Journal of Regional Science, 40, 89–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Fernandes
    • 1
  • João J. Ferreira
    • 1
  • Pedro M. Veiga
    • 2
  • Marta Peris-Ortiz
    • 3
  1. 1.Management and Economics DepartmentUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique & NECE- Research UnitCovilhãPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Business AdministrationUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations