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Essential micro-foundations for contemporary business operations : top management tangible competencies, relationship-based business networks and environmental sustainability

Akhtar, Pervaiz; Khan, Zaheer; Frynas, J?drzej George; Tse, Ying Kei; Rao-Nicholson, Rekha


Pervaiz Akhtar

Zaheer Khan

J?drzej George Frynas

Ying Kei Tse

Rekha Rao-Nicholson


Although various studies have emphasized linkages between firm competencies, networks and sustainability at organizational level, the links between top management tangible competencies (e.g., contemporary relevant quantitative-focused education such as big data analytics and data-driven applications linked with the internet of things, relevant experience and analytical business applications), relationship-based business networks (RBNs) and environmental sustainability have not been well established at micro-level, and there is a literature gap in terms of investigating these relationships. This study examines these links based on the unique data collected from 175 top management representatives (chief executive officers and managing directors) working in food import and export firms headquartered in the UK and New Zealand. Our results from structural equation modelling indicate that top management tangible competencies (TMTCs) are the key determinants for building RBNs, mediating the correlation between TMTCs and environmental sustainability. Directly, the competencies also play a vital role towards environmental practices. The interaction effects further depict that relationship-oriented firms perform better compared to those which focus less on such networks. Consequently, our findings provide a deeper understanding of the micro-foundations of environmental sustainability based on TMTCs rooted in the resource-based view and RBNs entrenched in the social network theory. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings, and we provide suggestions for future research.


Akhtar, P., Khan, Z., Frynas, J. G., Tse, Y. K., & Rao-Nicholson, R. (2018). Essential micro-foundations for contemporary business operations : top management tangible competencies, relationship-based business networks and environmental sustainability. British Journal of Management, 29(1), 43-62.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 1, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2017
Publication Date Jan 17, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 9, 2018
Journal British journal of management
Print ISSN 1045-3172
Electronic ISSN 1467-8551
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Pages 43-62
Keywords Micro-foundations; Top management tangible competencies; Business networks; Sustainability; Environmental management
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Copyright Statement
©2017 The Authors. British Journal of Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Academyof Management. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 MainStreet, Malden, MA, 02148, USA.This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Li-cense, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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