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Changing for the Better, One Activity at the Time: A Multiple Case Study of the Motivators of Business Model Innovation for Sustainability
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In recent years the world has witnessed an increased attention to matters concerning sustainable development; consumers today put higher pressure on organizations to change their old unsustainable practices for newer, more sustainable ones. Within scholarly business literature, the concept of business models has gained more traction over the past two decades, however there is still some disparity in the views of what a business model really is. So far three perspectives on business models have emerged: business models as attributes of real firms, business models as cognitive schemas, and business models as formal conceptualizations. In this thesis, we adopt the perspective of business models as attributes of real firms, more explicitly, we view them as systems of activities that allow firms to create value for everyone involved. As the stream of business model research as expanded, so has the literature on how they change, also referred to as business model innovation. Here the three dominant perspectives are the rational positioning view, the evolutionary view, and the cognitive view; we argue in line with the rational positioning view that business models may change as a response to a change in the environment in which it is embedded. Knowing that our planet is changing, the question then arises: what can be done? We believe that changing the business model of a firm toward sustainability may be part of the answer. Hence, in order to generate more knowledge about how this can be done, we set out to answer the research question: 

what are the motivators of – and how do they influence – business model innovation for sustainability? 

We do this by investigating three firms that have changed their activity systems to incorporate sustainability. Our findings indicate that there are some motivators and influencers to the process of business model innovation for sustainability: we identify the motivators zealous leadership, sense of obligation, future hygiene factor, employer branding, goal-setting, synergy, and competitive advantage; and the influencers financial barriers, technological barriers, and cultural barriers. Further, we give practical suggestions to managers on how they can enhance the motivators and lower the barriers; we discuss the societal implications of our findings, and propose avenues for further research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 91
Keywords [en]
Business Models, Business Model Innovation, Sustainability, Motivators
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-160454OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-160454DiVA, id: diva2:1327128
Educational program
International Business Program
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-19 Created: 2019-06-19 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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