The three roles of business models in societal transitions: new linkages between business model and transition research

Christina M. Bidmon*, Sebastian F. Knab

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Following recent calls from sustainable business model and transition research, we establish the link between both fields. We systematically integrate existing knowledge on business models into the well-established multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions and identify three roles of business models and their respective impact on transition dynamics: (1) As part of the socio-technical regime, existing business models hamper transitions by reinforcing the current system's stability, (2) as intermediates between the technological niche and the socio-technical regime, business models drive transitions by facilitating the stabilization process of technological innovation and its breakthrough from niche to regime level, and (3) as non-technological niche innovation, novel business models drive transitions by building up a substantial part of a new regime without relying on technological innovation. We illustrate our findings with examples from the German energy sector and discuss our contributions to (sustainable) business model and transition research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-916
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume178
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Business models
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Societal transitions
  • Socio-technical transitions
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Sustainable business models

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