Corporate Digital Responsibility in Hospitality and Tourism


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According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 2022 survey, more than 60% of corporate managers listed Corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors as a primary focus for selecting and prioritizing digital capabilities, and more than 80% of companies have their plan to increase their investments in sustainability. ESG is an emerging practice and is expected to play an important role in corporate transition management toward corporate sustainability. While an increasing number of corporations adopt ESG concepts and practices to improve their corporate sustainability performance, corporate leaders and executives find putting ESG as the top priority in corporate decisions does not guarantee their market success (Pureza and Lee, 2020). 

ESG-related opportunities and challenges include decarbonization strategies, carbon net-zero strategy, health and safety of employees, modern slavery in the corporate value chain, and corporate transparency with regulatory compliance (Lee and Vachon, 2016). As the concept of ESG has multiple types of corporate sustainable development, the characteristics of ESG are complex to focus and implement efficiently without losing corporate competitiveness (Lee and Gunarathne, 2021). Achieving ESG goals as a competitive advantage requires integrating digital data, technology, and capabilities into corporate sustainability management. In particular, rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) applications (e.g., service robots, chatbots, generative AI) and digital transformation (DT) bring positive impacts and also critical ethical dilemmas to service firms and customers (Dogru et al., 2023; Lee et al., 2023; Wirtz et al., 2022). Thus, corporate digital responsibility (CDR) is considered a critical tool and corporate strategy to accelerate service firms’ sustainable transitions and development in the DT era (Lobschat et al., 2021). In the service context, CDR refers to the principles underpinning a service firm’s ethical, fair, and protective use of data and technology when engaging with customers within their digital service ecosystem (Writz et al., 2022, p. 1). Since diverse AI applications are based on heavy use of corporate and customer data for service innovation (Park et al., 20233), disruptive innovation (Lee et al., 2023), and machine learning (ML) based predictive modeling (Lee et al., 2021), CDR plays a critical role in measuring business performance and creating culture, processes, and behaviors for sustainable business success.    

In addition, AI and ML brought new digital capabilities to various industries (George and Schillebeeckx, 2022). ESG digitization, transferring analog data to digital data, has increased the visibility of CDR practices to various stakeholders in sustainability development and performance in the DT era. Demands for accountability drive companies to disclose their environmental and social footprint for ESG reporting. Connecting digital capabilities to the CDR and ESG agenda enables the management of current ESG-related challenges and opportunities more efficiently and effectively.     

Therefore, this special issue aims to enhance our understanding of CDR and ESG digitization in corporate sustainability management and digital transformation for hospitality and tourism organizations. In particular, this special issue seeks cutting-edge research and practice pertaining to CDR and ESG digitization and digital transformation in the hospitality and tourism context. 

List of topic areas

  • Theoretical underpinnings for the role of digital transformation for ESG or CDR
  • Tensions between ESG digitization and corporate competitiveness
  • Motivations to adopt CDR for achieving ESG goals in corporate sustainability 
  • Drivers to develop digital capabilities for CDR practices, strategic implementation, and ESG digitization
  • Barriers to linking CDR or ESG digitization to digital transformation or ESG implementation  
  • Challenges to integrating digital technologies into CDR or ESG implementation
  • ESG reporting systems and measures using digitization.
  • Innovative technologies for the ESG practices
  • Community Engagement through Digitalization in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry
  • Transparency and Integrity using CDR
  • Suggesting Best Practices using CDR for ESG practices

Guest Editors 

Minwoo Lee, University of Houston, USA, [email protected]
Ki-Hoon Lee, Edinburgh Napier University, UK,  [email protected] 
Ki-Joon Back, University of Houston, USA, [email protected]
Mimi Li, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China, [email protected]

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Author guidelines must be strictly followed.

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Author Guidelines

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines

Closing date for Abstract submission: July 1, 2024 (Abstract decisions by July 31, 2024)

Opening date for Manuscript submission: August 1, 2024

Closing date for Manuscript submission: December 31, 2024

Email for Abstract submission: [email protected]