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Project brief

Developments like globalization, convergence of technologies and industries, shorter product life cycles, deregulation, demographic changes, and changing customer preferences provide firms with potential avenues for future growth, but may also threaten firms’ existing business models. How do firms change their business model? Which technological, management and organizational competencies are required for transforming existing business-models? What type of leadership style (transactional/ transformational) is appropriate for successful business model transformation and what are the required roles for the different management levels (front-line, middle line and top management)? Expanding worldwide competition, fragmenting markets, and emerging technologies force established firms to renew themselves continuously by transforming stagnant businesses and creating new sources of wealth through new combinations of resources.

From the mid ’90 onwards, the business model concept has received increased attention from academics and practitioners. Business model innovation is a necessity to survive in today’s turbulent environments. Recently, scholars highlighted even that firms should have more than one business model. For instance, the introduction of online news next to its traditional newspaper business enabled USA Today to deal with the rise of the Internet. Similarly, traditional airliners introduced a low-cost business model to compete with Southwest Airlines, Ryanair, and/or Easyjet. However, it is a very challenging managerial task to successfully realize such a dual business model focus. In this research project, we focus on this challenge. Research questions include: how should multiple business models within a firm be related to one another? How can firms ensure that their business models do not only create value, but also capture value? What managerial and leadership characteristics (e.g., transformational leadership) are required to realise such a dual business model focus?

The empirical research consists of a large scale survey data, but also involves in-depth case studies in, for instance, the consulting industry, financial services industry, publishing industry, creative industry and aviation industry. The master thesis will consist of theoretical and empirical contributions to the business model innovation literature. Students will have to opportunity to participate in the ongoing research programs on business model innovation (disruptive innovation in professional services; dual business models; new business models in the financial service sector), participate in research projects with companies (e.g., Accenture, Alliander, Deloitte, DSM, Ericsson, Festo, NXP, Port Authority Rotterdam, Randstad, Roland Berger, Siemens, Tebodin) and use the ACBI database on business model innovation.


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