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This book presents a systematic literature review of 156 published papers on business model innovation (BMI). The aim is to identify and integrate the different theoretical perspectives, analytical levels, and empirical contexts in order to deepen understanding of this complex phenomenon. The authors conduct an inductive thematic analysis based on an informal ontological classification that identifies 56 key themes. Within each theme, discussion focuses on thematic patterns, potential inconsistencies and debates, and future directions and opportunities for research. The book makes a number of significant contributions to the field. First, it offers a deeper understanding of the evolution of research on BMI through an ontological map that identifies the key thematic areas in the literature. Second, a multilevel model is developed that clarifies the concept of BMI by identifying its drivers, contingencies, and outcomes. Third, the authors identify clear and specific directions for further research and offer suggestions on research design, creating an informative road map for the future. The book will be of value both to scholars and researchers and to practitioners.



Chapter 1. Systematic Literature Review

The first chapter of this book introduces the importance of studying business model innovation (BMI), the methodology we applied to study the subject, and specific statistics about the literature published in academic and practice-oriented journals in the last 15 years. Specifically, this chapter offers an overview of the processes followed for our systematic literature review (SLR) and the rigorous protocol that includes the three-stage procedure (i.e., planning, execution, and reporting) suggested by Tranfield et al. (Br J Manag 14:207–222, 2003). Gathering the most influential pieces on SLRs, this chapter also offers some hints for conducting a successful SLR and illustrates the benefits associated with doing so. In addition, this chapter describes the thematic and the informal ontological classification we adopted to analyze the 156 papers included in our systematic literature review. Thus, the first section of this chapter defines what is meant by an SLR. The second section offers an overview of the tasks of an SLR. The other sections present the process followed for the thematic and ontological analyses that are central to this work. The final section provides some statistics on the 156 papers included in our SLR, underlining specific information about the journals that published the articles, the methodological approaches applied in the papers, the industries included in the studies, the geographical contexts, and the disciplines that contributed to the understanding of BMI.
Daniela Andreini, Cristina Bettinelli

Chapter 2. Business Model Definition and Boundaries

The second chapter of this book focuses on the conceptualization of a BM and particularly on the definitions and boundaries of BMs that the literature has proposed over the last 15 years. In the first part of this chapter, we propose different definitions of BM categorized according to: the conceptual abstraction (i.e., strategic, narrative, process-based, and cognitive conceptual abstractions); the BM architecture (i.e., BM as a structure; BM as a system; BM as a network); the content of BM components (i.e., strategic activities and managerial decisions; resources; networks and relationships; and value) and to the dynamic approaches (with particular focus on strategic management and organizational studies). Finally, we review all the definitions of BM included in the 156 papers considered for our systematic literature review of BMI. Thus, according to a brief citation analysis, we have identified the most influential works on BM that contributed most to the academic and practice-oriented development of the literature of BMI.
Daniela Andreini, Cristina Bettinelli

Chapter 3. Business Model Innovation: A Thematic Map

The third chapter is the core of this book and it introduces a fine-grained ontological exploration of BMI. Specifically, this chapter focuses on the results of our systematic literature review and the related thematic and the ontological analyses of the 156 papers selected for this research. With the help of thematic maps and ontological tables, the authors illustrate the 56 themes resulting from the analyses, categorized into seven macro themes: definitions of BMI, drivers of BMI, outcomes of BMI, barriers to BMI, enablers of BMI, tools of BMI, and processes of BMI. Moreover, this chapter provides a specific discussion on the conceptualization of BMI that reveals its dual nature: the first one being connected to the changes to BM components and the second one to the dynamisms related to the continuous innovation of BMs. Finally, the paper concludes with specific discussions and presents a research agenda, and related future research suggestions, for each macro-theme identified in the systematic literature review (i.e., BMI definitions, drivers, outcomes, barriers, enablers, tools, and processes).
Daniela Andreini, Cristina Bettinelli

Chapter 4. Multilevel Analysis of Business Model Innovation

This chapter introduces a multilevel analysis of BMI that flows from the thematic and ontological analyses of the 156 papers included in the systematic literature review. Five different levels of analysis emerged from the studies: individual (e.g., entrepreneurs and employees); team (e.g., top management); firm (e.g. companies and organizations), network (e.g., partnerships and consortia), and the firm’s institutional environment (e.g., industry, market, sector, or society). These levels of analysis are discussed in order to improve our understanding of BMI and to stimulate future research. The tables and the multilevel issues examined in this chapter reveal that most existing knowledge on BMI is concentrated on a single level of analysis at a time, moreover the majority of the papers use the firm as the level of investigation. Accordingly, this chapter contributes to the development of the BMI literature, highlighting for each level of analysis, the related research gaps, and offering specific suggestions—a road map for future research—to address each of these knowledge gaps.
Daniela Andreini, Cristina Bettinelli

Chapter 5. BMI from the Perspective of Five Disciplines

This chapter categorizes the 156 papers included in our systematic analysis according to the disciplines to which they belong. Our thematic and ontological analyses identified five different disciplines dealing with BMI: strategic management, organizational studies, marketing, and entrepreneurship. In addition to these, we have the practice-oriented group of papers. This chapter is organized as follows, each section considers one of the five different disciplines and first analyzes how BMI is treated in it by reviewing the main research questions, the theoretical perspectives, and the methodologies employed in the papers considered in our systematic literature review. Specifically, we will discuss the papers most cited in each field and their contribution to the knowledge on BMI. Finally, the chapter presents the categorization of the papers according to their main perspectives and levels of analysis (illustrated in the fourth chapter of this book), providing a specific research agenda for future research.
Daniela Andreini, Cristina Bettinelli

Chapter 6. Conclusions and Research Agenda

This chapter concludes our work by summarizing all the results derived from the analyses illustrated and discussed in the previous chapters. This chapter contributes to the knowledge of business model innovation (BMI) in three ways. First, we review the integrative framework related to the drivers, contingencies, and outcomes of BMI that was complemented with a deep analysis of theoretical perspectives and future research. Second, we propose an integrated multilevel (individual, team, firm, network and institutional) and multidisciplinary (strategic management, organizational studies, marketing, entrepreneurship, and practice-oriented) framework for BMI. Third, these perspectives of analysis facilitate the development of a comprehensive research agenda that can stimulate future studies on BMI from different perspectives, such as, a deeper BMI conceptualization, a wider and mixed usage of research methods, more integrative studies able to integrate level of analysis and a multidisciplinary understanding of BMI. These future contributions can improve the knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of BMI, and particularly of its drivers, outcomes, and contingencies.
Daniela Andreini, Cristina Bettinelli
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