Sub-theme 46: The Long Shadow of Business Models: Inertia and Improvisation
Call for Papers
This theme explores business model change with its obstacles and opportunities. The sub-theme continues the on-going
conversations about business models to examine and to discuss the role of business models as intermediary instruments between
cognition and action, between standards of excellence and practice.
The business model can be seen as a set of cognitive configurations. Discovery and experimentation represent effective ways in which established firms can probe complex and fast-moving environments to discover what works. However, established ways of doing things represent sources of inertia and ingrained routines are difficult to challenge or even change.
Business models serve the purpose of building legitimacy in arguments. Senior managers agree on courses of action before implementing based on a shared understanding of what is desirable and possible. The process of deliberation is enhanced by a second property of business models: they are objects of inquiry. If properly specified, managers can enquire into the model by playing and experimenting with possible combinations and outcomes. We ask here: how do the cognitive and material features of existing business models impact their possible change? Managers of established firms may feel bound by the organizational culture, embedded (power) relationships and the facts and fictions that made the business successful or created the need for change.
We invite papers that address the business model theme with special consideration to business model change and established firms. How can mindful and reflected pracrices lead to change and innovation? What can we learn from theories such as ambidexterity and paradox research? How do theories of innovation influence our thinking on business model change?
We seek to build on theories that enriched the discipline of management and social and cognitive sciences more broadly. Business model research can be thought of as a helpful lens to include the reflective manager and the comprehensive and necessary set of elements that make up a sustainable, collective economic activity, be it business, charity, or government. Some organizations have been in operation for decades, even centuries, and we invite a long-term perspective on how the modus operandi can or must be re-thought and re-shaped. Historical accounts may discover patterns in business model change or link it to technological change. Social-psychological accounts may explain why groups of managers follow certain patterns in finding a shared language, coming to agreement, and changing routines.