The role of managerial competencies in managing resources for sustainable development strategy in SMEs

Muhammad Sualeh Khattak, Qiang Wu, Maqsood Ahmad, Rizwan Ullah

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Purpose: Grounded in upper echelon (UE) theory, this study aims to examine the role of managerial competencies (business experience, financial literacy and digital literacy) in sustainable development strategy, with resource management as a mediator. Design/methodology/approach: The empirical data collection is conducted through a survey completed by 297 top management teams of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Pakistan. Structural equation modelling in Smart PLS is used to substantiate the hypotheses. Findings: The findings reveal that financially and digitally literate managers significantly contribute to the sustainable development strategies of SMEs. However, experienced managers do not focus significantly on sustainable development strategies. Resource management partially mediates the nexus between financial literacy and sustainable development strategy, as well as between digital literacy and sustainable development strategy. In contrast, resource management does not mediate the nexus between business experience and sustainable development strategy. Research limitations/implications: This study recommends that SMEs should prioritize managers with digital and financial literacy over those with experience. SMEs led by a management team with digital and financial literacy are more effective in resource management for sustainable development practices, whereas experienced managers may not significantly prioritize managing resources for sustainability. Originality/value: While research based on the UE theory significantly contributes to the body of knowledge on sustainable development, the role of managerial competencies, particularly business experience, financial literacy and digital literacy, in sustainable development strategy via resource management is neglected. This research fills this gap in the context of UE theory and thereby enriches the literature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Business experience
  • Digital literacy
  • Financial literacy
  • Resource management
  • Sustainable development strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of managerial competencies in managing resources for sustainable development strategy in SMEs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this