Small and Medium-size Enterprise Leadership in Sustainable Development, a Case Study of the Tourism Industry in Jamaica
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This research addresses the evolution in the role of businesses in sustainable development as they shift from the traditional corporate responsibility practices to the contemporary approaches that see businesses adding value to the environmental and social spheres and contributing to the collaborative governance for sustainable development. It considers the case study of the tourism industry in Jamaica to explore how an industry’s leadership at the firm level shapes these approaches. The tourism industry is recognized for its potential to drive sustainable development at the community level due to its size and its economic value; its direct contact with local environments and communities; and its high level of interaction with other economic sectors. Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) dominate the tourism industry, but so far they have received little attention in the literature on sustainability. Using multiple-case study methodology, this research examines the experiences of three SME hotels in Jamaica, which are recognized as leaders in sustainable development in their communities. It investigates the relational dynamics of business leadership with regard to the development of sustainability-oriented relationships and networks and the creation of social capital for sustainable community development. The findings are presented through a cross-case analysis. The study demonstrates the value of using the relational approach when studying leadership and collaboration in the context of tourism destinations. It highlights the unique characteristics of tourism SMEs that shape their approaches to sustainability and their participation in local governance. And it draws conclusions about the potential of business leadership to [re]define the role of businesses in collaborative governance for sustainable development. This study provides policy makers with a better understanding of how to engage and support sustainability leadership within the tourism industry.