Barriers and drivers to sustainable business model innovation: Organization design and dynamic capabilities

Sustainable business model innovation is increasingly seen as a key driver for competitive advantage and corporate sustainability. While it has been recognised that companies require dynamic capabilities to innovate their business model for sustainability, the role of organisation design to nurture such dynamic capabilities remains under-addressed.

To investigate this in more detail, we conducted a study with 7 multinational corporations leading in the field of sustainability. In total, we conducted 53 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 6 top managers, 24 senior managers, and 25 mid-level managers actively engaged in Sustainable business model innovation inside their organisations.

By taking this qualitative research approach, we address how organisation design affects dynamic capabilities needed for sustainable business model innovation. We identified barriers and drivers on three levels: the institutional, the strategic, and the operational. The overview of institutional, strategic and operational barriers and drivers can be found in the figure below. It should be noted that drivers are not direct antidotes to the barriers identified; they rather co-exist as counter-forces.

 

 

Figure Barriers and DriversThis study has 3 key contributions:

  1. Understanding how organisational design affects dynamic capabilities needed for business model innovation.
  2. Presenting a multi-level framework (institutional, strategic, operational) to show how interconnected barriers and drivers obstruct or enable sustainable business model innovation
  3. Advancing theoretical perspectives on sustainable business model innovation through this comprehensive study

 

Finally, this study on sustainable business model innovation, organisation design and dynamic capabilities can help guide companies in their transitions towards achieving greater levels of sustainability. By creating greater awareness of the barriers and drivers at the institutional, strategic and operational levels, building on knowledge from mid-, senior- and top-managers in 7 multinational companies seen as sustainability leaders, it can serve as a source of inspiration to support business practice towards sustainability.

The fully open access article can be found here.

 

Sources: 

Bocken, N. M.P., & Geradts, T. H.J. (2019). Barriers and drivers to sustainable business model innovation: Organization design and dynamic capabilities. Long Range Planning, 101950.

Teece, D. J. (2018). Business models and dynamic capabilities. Long Range Planning, 51(1), 40-49.

 


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