Sunway Institute for Global Strategy and Competitiveness (IGSC) is dedicated to extending its research focus beyond the traditional economic boundary of competitiveness and draws into its coverage social and environmental considerations as explicit factors of competitiveness.
Conventional definitions of competitiveness place central emphasis on productivity and perceive it purely as an economic outcome variable, whether it is at firm performance level, industry sector, or nation-state level in which policies, strategies, programs, institutions, and other factors come together to determine the level of output for given resource input. Unfortunately, this view of competitiveness is both static and narrow and fails to adequately consider the future.
Competitiveness, whether an individual, firm, industry sector, or national level, must be sustainable over time, encompass the current and future environment, and do so from a broader perspective and future environment, and do so from a broader perspective. Economic health and well-being are undeniably important, but it is not the only factor that we should account for when considering competitiveness.
Recognizing the limitations of conventional approaches, IGSC adopts a multi-dimensional view of competitiveness to include not just economic health, but also social health and environmental health.
Under this view, economic health revolves around the optimization of productivity and performance at the individual, firm, sector, or national level, but this optimization can not be done at the expense of society or the environment. Within this broader purview of competitiveness, social health is about inclusiveness and shared value, and prosperity and environmental health are about the avoidance of degradation and unsustainable use of planetary resources. From the perspective of this lens, competitiveness should not simply be about firm optimization, at the expense of creating or widening social inequities and damage to the environment.