Theme 2

“Organisational transformation (sectoral and organisational level)”

Theme coordinator: Sjors Witjes/  Niels Faber

On route towards a new business model, sectors and organisations are confronted with questions on what this means for their current organisational systems and what needs to be done to realise this. Theme two aims to understand the issues that arise at sectoral and organisational levels when adopting NBMs. The focus thus lies on the topic of organisational transformation towards the adoption of NBMs.

Tracks in this theme are:
1. Rural, regional business models (Track 7)
Track chair: Monique Kamm

Tackling wicked problems related to sustainable development on a regional level has resulted in the emergence of place-bound, multi-stakeholder organisational systems and accompanying business models, such as cross sector networks, cooperatives, living labs, et cetera. Examples can be observed all across Europe, e.g.: Energy Academy at the isle of Samso (DK), Transformation Ecologique et Social in Region Nord-Pas de Calais (FR); and Fruitmotor in Betuwe region (NL).

This track is suspended. Papers are presented in track 9.

2. New Business Models, Sustainable Development and Corporate Strategic Management (Track 8)
Track Chairs: Romana Rauter, Yulia Snihur and Sjors Witjes

Sustainable business models are intensively discussed as a means to foster a necessary transition towards more sustainable societies. On the one hand, a multitude of examples of business models with a sustainable core, like circular business models and asset-sharing business models, exist. On the other hand, there are also many examples of “regular” business models that are being tuned towards higher levels of sustainability, for example through the use of partnerships, or other resource-minimizing choices.
The successful transition towards more sustainable businesses is dependent upon a number of factors. Amongst them, we highlight the relevance of two factors from a corporate management perspective: a) the content-based dimension referring to the inclusion of sustainability goals in corporate strategy; and b) the time dimension referring to the timeline of implementation of these goals, including questions about scalability and longevity. Both factors relate to strategic management issues, including a future vision of success as seen from the management perspective, potentially offering a “set of guidelines that determines decisions into the future” (Mintzberg, 1978: 935).
The corporate strategy decision to invest in a more sustainable business version of the existing business model(s), or to develop new sustainable business models from ground up, is a complex matter. Our point is that building sustainable and scalable business models rests upon strategic management decision-making within the firm, as does the subsequent management of the business model portfolio.
Therefore, descriptive as well as explanatory contributions that specifically, but not exclusively, deal with the following topics are invited:
– Which insights can be gained from the established concepts of strategic management and how can these be used for the development, implementation and improvement of new sustainable business models?
– How do corporate strategic management and sustainability strategies influence the design and management of new sustainable business models?
– How does sustainability and scalability contribute to the business model innovation processes?
– From the perspective of strategic management, what are the barriers and enablers of success in the implementation of new sustainable business models from ground up versus the more incremental “sustainable-improvement” of existing business models approach?
Theoretical and conceptual contributions as well as empirical insights from various contexts are welcome. The focus, however, lies more on rather established corporations such as large multinational corporations, SMEs, or public organisations, rather than on entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Baumgartner, R.J. and Rauter, R. (2017). Strategic perspectives of corporate sustainability management to develop a sustainable organization. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 81-92.
Dentchev, N., Rauter, R., Jóhannsdóttir, L., Snihur, Y., Rosano, M., Baumgartner, R., Nyberg, T., Tangh, X., van Hoof, B. & Jonker, J. (2018). Embracing the variety of sustainable business models: A prolific field of research and a future research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 194(1), 695-703.
Nielsen, C. and Lund, M. (2018). Building Scalable Business Models. MIT Sloan Management Review, 59(2), 64-69.
Mintzberg, H. (1978). Patterns in Strategy Formation. Management Science, 24(9), 934-948.
Snihur, Y. and Tarzijan, J. (2018). Managing complexity in a multi-business-model organization. Long Range Planning, 51(1), 50-63.
Snihur, Y., Wiklund, J. (2019). Searching for Innovation: Product, Process, and Business Model Innovations and Search Behavior in Established Firms. Long Range Planning, 52(3), 305-325.

3.  Rural, regional business models and methodology, Exploring methodology and its role in transformative business models ( track 9)
Track Chairs: Bartjan Pennink , Sjors Witjes and Moniek Kamm

The NBM methodologies track stresses some pivotal topics in doing new business model research. It explores and questions the way we do our research and critically reflects on different research approaches, tools and methods applied aiming for knowledge creation and dissemination supporting the improvement of our research. Which factors did help them to make progress in terms of knowledge development and which factors where barriers in this field. The presentations of research in this track can be either critical reflections on NBM research methodologies at large or empirical case studies with a critical stance on the research approach applied. Besides these critical reflections we are also looking at suggestions for new directions in the research strategy that could help further the development of theories on new business models.

Other themes

Theme 1

“Societal transition (societal and economic level)”...
Read more

Theme 3

“Organisational impact” Theme coordinator: Florian Lüdeke-Freund...
Read more

Theme 4

“Young Academics” coordinator: Romana Rauter Theme...
Read more


” TNO Session Sustainable Business Models...
Read more


View themes ” NWO Session Sustainable...
Read more

Special Tracks

During the conference there are a...
Read more