BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: An emerging type of innovation that leads to dramatic improvement in management processes and methods, and at the same time promotes innovation, is entrepreneurship for preserving cleaner production. However, few studies have been conducted to examine the impact of entrepreneurial orientation, knowledge management, and market orientation on sustainable competitive advantage and cleaner production that indicates the necessity and importance of conducting such research. Therefore, the present study aimed to determine the impact of entrepreneurship, market, and knowledge management on sustainable competitive advantage and cleaner production.
METHODS: The study is a descriptive research based on the method and an applied one in terms of the purpose. The statistical sample includes 289 senior executives of small and medium enterprises which are selected by random stratified method. The Structural Equation Model was used for inferential analysis and Analytic Network Process was used for prioritization.
FINDING: According to the obtained results, entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation, and knowledge management affect cleaner production with the 0.75, 0.85, and 0.51 scores, respectively, and also, cleaner production leads to improvement of competitive advantage. As a result, companies operate more successfully when using a set of strategic guidelines for cleaner production and achieve the significant development, which produce a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors. The Analytic Network Process output also indicates that the knowledge orientation got first rank with the weight of 0.307, followed by entrepreneurial orientation and market orientation with the weight of 0.229 in the second rank, and cleaner production (0.141) and sustainable competitive advantage (0.095) ranked third and fourth, respectively.
CONCLUSION: it seems that the existing knowledge of manufacturing operations is insufficient at this level to cover the rapid growth of this field, and many small and medium enterprises are still lagging behind in taking advantage of these new opportunities.