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A Critical Assessment of Business Model Research

Published on Jan 1, 2017in The Academy of Management Annals 12.29
· DOI :10.5465/annals.2014.0072
L. Massa53
Estimated H-index: 53
(WU: Vienna University of Economics and Business),
Christopher L. Tucci19
Estimated H-index: 19
(EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne),
Allan Afuah20
Estimated H-index: 20
(UM: University of Michigan)
Ever since the Internet boom of the mid-1990s, firms have been experimenting with new ways of doing business and achieving their goals, which has led to a branching of the scholarly literature on business models. Three interpretations of the meaning and function of “business models” have emerged from the management literature: (1) business models as attributes of real firms, (2) business models as cognitive/linguistic schemas, and (3) business models as formal conceptual representations of how a business functions. Relatedly, a provocative debate about the relationship between business models and strategy has fascinated many scholars. We offer a critical review of this now vast business model literature with the goal of organizing the literature and achieving greater understanding of the larger picture in this increasingly important research area. In addition to complementing and extending prior reviews, we also aim at a second and more important contribution: We aim at identifying the reasons behind the apparent lack of agreement in the interpretation of business models, and the relationship between business models and strategy. Whether strategy scholars consider business model research a new field may be due to the fact that the business model perspective may be challenging the assumptions of traditional theories of value creation and capture by focusing on value creation on the demand side and supply side, rather than focusing on value creation on the supply side only as these theories have done. We conclude by discussing how the business model perspective can contribute to research in different fields, offering future research directions.
  • References (180)
  • Citations (115)
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Organization & Environment 8.50
Antony Upward2
Estimated H-index: 2
(U of T: University of Toronto),
Peter J. H. Jones64
Estimated H-index: 64
(U of T: University of Toronto)
Business is increasingly employing sustainability practices, aiming to improve environmental and social responsibility while maintaining and improving profitability. For many organizations, profit-oriented business models are a major constraint impeding progress in sustainability. A formally defined ontology, a model definition, for profit-oriented business models has been employed globally for several years. However, no equivalent ontology is available in research or practice that enables the d...
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Organization & Environment 8.50
Nizar Abdelkafi4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Leipzig University),
Karl Täuscher5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Leipzig University)
To achieve sustainability, a firm has to transform its entire business logic. A business model for sustainability (BMfS) aims at creating value for various stakeholders and the natural environment. This article advances the current understanding of the basic functioning of BMfS by applying a systems perspective. Our BMfS understanding incorporates the natural environment as an essential element, but does not deal with sustainability from a broad perspective. The core logic of a BMfS is built upo...
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Organization & Environment 8.50
Stefan Schaltegger50
Estimated H-index: 50
(Lüneburg University),
Erik G. Hansen18
Estimated H-index: 18
(Lüneburg University),
Florian Lüdeke-Freund15
Estimated H-index: 15
(UHH: University of Hamburg)
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Organization & Environment 8.50
Peter Erskine Wells21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Cardiff University)
This article defines business models for sustainability as contested and contextual, and provides a novel framework in terms of the architecture of the business, its principles and components for the analysis of such models. With this framework, a preliminary comparison using the engaged scholarship methodology is made between microbreweries and large multinational brewers. It is concluded that defining and determining comparative sustainability performance based on different business models res...
Published on Feb 1, 2016in Strategic Management Journal 5.57
Caterina Tantalo1
Estimated H-index: 1
(SFSU: San Francisco State University),
Richard L. Priem33
Estimated H-index: 33
(Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli)
Our “stakeholder synergy” perspective identifies new value creation opportunities that are especially effective strategically because a single strategic action (1) increases different types of value for two or more essential stakeholder groups simultaneously, and (2) does not reduce the value already received by any other essential stakeholder group. This result is obtainable because multiple potential sources of value creation exist for each essential stakeholder group. Actions that meet these ...
Published on Feb 1, 2016in Long Range Planning 3.36
Bernd W. Wirtz16
Estimated H-index: 16
Adriano Pistoia3
Estimated H-index: 3
+ 1 AuthorsVincent Göttel5
Estimated H-index: 5
The concept of business models has reached global impact, both for company's competitive success and in management science. Its application by authors from diverse areas has led to a previously very heterogeneous comprehension of the concept. Yet, by means of investigating its origin and theoretical development, we state a recently converging business model view. Further, based on analyzing business model definitions, perspectives and components in the literature, we newly define the concept and...
Published on Dec 1, 2015in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 2.96
Raphael Amit38
Estimated H-index: 38
(UPenn: University of Pennsylvania),
Christoph Zott15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Navarra)
Anchored in the broad design literature, we derive four antecedents of business model design: goals, templates, stakeholder activities, and environmental constraints. These business model design antecedents are illustrated using interview data from nine new ventures in the peer-to-peer lending space. We proceed with the theoretical development to link the design antecedents to the design themes of business models and conclude with implications for business model research and entrepreneurial lead...
Published on Jun 1, 2015in Industrial and Corporate Change 1.82
Paolo Aversa4
Estimated H-index: 4
(City University London),
Santi Furnari9
Estimated H-index: 9
(City University London),
Stefan Haefliger16
Estimated H-index: 16
(City University London)
We investigate the business model configurations associated with high and low firm performance by conducting a qualitative comparative analysis of firms competing in Formula One racing. We find that configurations of two business models—one focused on selling technology to competitors, the other one on developing and trading human resources with competitors—are associated with high performance. We also investigate why these configurations are high-performing and find that they are underpinned by...
Published on Jun 1, 2015in Journal of Cleaner Production 6.39
Wiebke Reim5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Luleå University of Technology),
Vinit Parida8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Vaasa),
Daniel Örtqvist16
Estimated H-index: 16
(Luleå University of Technology)
Abstract Studies on Product–Service Systems (PSS) are emerging as a growing body of literature driven by the desire to combine economic prosperity and sustainable resource management. However, knowledge about how companies can adopt and implement PSS has remained limited. In this study, a systematic literature review is conducted related to understanding implementation of PSS business models and five sets of tactical practices. Based on an in-depth analysis of 67 articles, it was found that PSS ...
Published on Jun 1, 2015in European Management Journal 2.98
Tina Saebi7
Estimated H-index: 7
(NHH: Norwegian School of Economics),
Nicolai J. Foss72
Estimated H-index: 72
(NHH: Norwegian School of Economics)
Research on open innovation suggests that companies benefit differentially from adopting open innovation strategies; however, it is unclear why this is so. One possible explanation is that companies’ business models are not attuned to open strategies. Accordingly, we propose a contingency model of open business models by systematically linking open innovation strategies to core business model dimensions, notably the content, structure, governance of transactions. We further illustrate a continuu...
Cited By115
Published on Jan 1, 2020
Adriano Solidoro (University of Milan), Gianluigi Viscusi9
Estimated H-index: 9
(EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
Digital technologies are enabling the transformation of the established market boundaries and business models of the cinema industry, bringing opportunities for a reconfiguration of the conceptual framework of movie content distribution through movie theatres, as well as of the concept of the movie theatre as traditional projection space and as institutional site. This requires to sector organizations to negotiate new agreements related to theatrical distribution and to explore alternative ways ...
Peter Trkman23
Estimated H-index: 23
(University of Ljubljana)
Abstract Despite major changes in the environment, the business models of business schools have not experienced much change. Methods of teaching and research remain similar to 30 years ago. This paper focusses on the underlying reason for the inertia by investigating the implicit value proposition of business schools. It first reviews past literature on the value of business schools and then attempts to explain additional, often neglected, value propositions of teaching and research. The paper a...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Technological Forecasting and Social Change 3.81
Matthias Wenzel6
Estimated H-index: 6
(European University Viadrina),
Matthias Georg Will6
Estimated H-index: 6
(MLU: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)
Abstract Although the digital transformation of knowledge production has put communication front and center in the production and recreation of academic fields, research on scientific communities still mostly promotes an actor-centric or institutionalist understanding of academic fields. This, we argue, points to the need for a digital transformation of our understanding of academic fields, one that does justice to the important role of communication in the production and recreation of academic ...
Alexander Nickolaevich Melnik1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Kazan: Kazan Federal University),
Kirill Andreevich Ermolaev1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Kazan: Kazan Federal University),
Mikhail Sergeevich Kuzmin1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Kazan: Kazan Federal University)
Innovative activity is an important factor for the development of companies, which to a large extent determines their competitive positions in the global market of goods and services. During the research, a hypothesis was put forward stating that the current company management mechanisms do not fully realize innovation development potential to achieve strategic outcomes. On the basis of the activity analysis of the largest Russian companies, it was estimated that innovation development indicator...
Published on Nov 8, 2017in R & D Management 2.35
Sabrina Schneider4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Kassel)
Firms need to show dynamic adaptability and innovate their business models to achieve survival and growth, in particular when they are exposed to high levels of exogenous change. However, business model innovation also takes place in the absence of exogenous change. We know relatively little about firms’ approaches to opportunities for business model innovation in both of these environmental settings. The objective of this study is to understand how firms exposed to various environmental conditi...
Published on Jul 23, 2019in Journal of Business Ethics 3.80
Dominika Wruk2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UMA: University of Mannheim),
Achim Oberg5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UMA: University of Mannheim)
+ 1 AuthorsIndre Maurer7
Estimated H-index: 7
(GAU: University of Göttingen)
The sharing economy as an emerging field is characterized by unsettled debates about its shared purpose and defining characteristics of the organizations within this field. This study draws on neo-institutional theory to explore how sharing organizations position themselves vis-a-vis such debates with regard to (1) the values these organizations publicly promote to present themselves as “good” sharing organizations and (2) the business model features they make visible to appear as having the “ri...
Published on Jul 22, 2019in Tourism Economics 1.10
Marko Budler1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Ljubljana),
Miha Bratec (University of Ljubljana)+ 1 AuthorsLuka Tomat2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Ljubljana)
Overview:The view of time that dominates conventional management thinking, including the Lean Startup movement’s “fail fast and pivot” approach, often leads to failure in the business model evolution of new ventures spinning off from established firms. Timing is critical for spinoffs because it is a key element of the balance between minimizing risk and maximizing opportunity. In the literature on business model evolution and lean startups, however, the issue of timing is given limited considera...