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Journeying Toward Business Models for Sustainability: A Conceptual Model Found Inside the Black Box of Organisational Transformation


  • Nigel Roome

    (Vlerick Management School)

  • Céline Louche

    (Audencia Business School - Audencia Business School)


Scholars increasingly recognise that business contributions to sustainable development are founded in new business models. However, most research in this field remains conceptual and offers a rather static view of a complex and dynamic reality. This article contributes to understanding how new business models for sustainability are fashioned through the interactions between individuals and groups inside and outside companies. Based on two case studies, our findings show that three elements contributed to the path of transformation toward business models for sustainability: building networks and collaborative practices for learning and action around a new vision, the deployment of new concepts drawn from outside the company, and elaborating an implementation structure within a reconfigured network. Our findings reveal the complexity of the process, which went through four subprocesses: identifying, translating, embedding, and sharing. Our results also highlight the importance of considering value destruction as well as new ways to create and capture value.

Suggested Citation

  • Nigel Roome & Céline Louche, 2016. "Journeying Toward Business Models for Sustainability: A Conceptual Model Found Inside the Black Box of Organisational Transformation," Post-Print hal-01183743, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01183743
    DOI: 10.1177/1086026615595084
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vinit Parida & Joakim Wincent, 2019. "Why and how to compete through sustainability: a review and outline of trends influencing firm and network-level transformation," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-19, March.
    2. Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen & Wencke Gwozdz & Kerli Kant Hvass, 2018. "Exploring the Relationship Between Business Model Innovation, Corporate Sustainability, and Organisational Values within the Fashion Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 149(2), pages 267-284, May.
    3. Agarwal, Renu & Mittal, Neeraj & Patterson, Eric & Giorcelli, Michela, 2021. "Evolution of the Indian LPG industry: Exploring conditions for public sector business model innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(4).
    4. Aisma Linda Kiesnere & Rupert J. Baumgartner, 2019. "Sustainability management emergence and integration on different management levels in smaller large‐sized companies in Austria," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 26(6), pages 1607-1626, November.
    5. Boons, Frank & Bocken, Nancy, 2018. "Towards a sharing economy – Innovating ecologies of business models," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 40-52.
    6. María Jesús Muñoz‐Torres & María Ángeles Fernández‐Izquierdo & Juana M. Rivera‐Lirio & Elena Escrig‐Olmedo, 2019. "Can environmental, social, and governance rating agencies favor business models that promote a more sustainable development?," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 26(2), pages 439-452, March.
    7. Mara Del Baldo & Maria-Gabriella Baldarelli, 2017. "Renewing and improving the business model toward sustainability in theory and practice," International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-13, December.
    8. Mateusz Lewandowski, 2016. "Designing the Business Models for Circular Economy—Towards the Conceptual Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, January.
    9. Choi, Yon Jung & McNeely, Connie L., 2020. "Rhetorical Framing of Organizational Identity: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Modern World Polity," SocArXiv x3fvd, Center for Open Science.
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:43:d:62362 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bulavinova, Natalia & Burdenko, Iryna & Lehenchuk, Serhii & Tsaruk, Iryna & Ostapchuk, Tetiana, 2021. "Trends in research of responsible investment in the context of sustainable development: bibliometric analysis," Agricultural and Resource Economics: International Scientific E-Journal, Agricultural and Resource Economics: International Scientific E-Journal, vol. 7(3), September.
    12. Nadia Preghenella & Cinzia Battistella, 2021. "Exploring business models for sustainability: A bibliographic investigation of the literature and future research directions," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5), pages 2505-2522, July.
    13. Andrea Grant & Ray Ison & Robert Faggian & Victor Sposito, 2019. "Enabling Political Legitimacy and Conceptual Integration for Climate Change Adaptation Research within an Agricultural Bureaucracy: a Systemic Inquiry," Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, vol. 32(5), pages 573-600, October.
    14. Marco Bertoni, 2017. "Introducing Sustainability in Value Models to Support Design Decision Making: A Systematic Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(6), pages 1-31, June.
    15. Marko Peric & Jelena Durkin & Vanja Vitezic, 2017. "The Constructs of a Business Model Redefined: A Half-Century Journey," SAGE Open, , vol. 7(3), pages 21582440177, September.
    16. Donal Brown & Paula Kivimaa & Steve Sorrell, 2018. "How Can Intermediaries Promote Business Model Innovation: The Case of ‘Energiesprong’ Whole-House Retrofits in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands," SPRU Working Paper Series 2018-19, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    17. Jerman Andrej & Erenda Ivan & Bertoncelj Andrej, 2019. "The Influence of Critical Factors on Business Model at a Smart Factory: A Case Study," Business Systems Research, Sciendo, vol. 10(1), pages 42-52, April.
    18. Caterina Cavicchi & Emidia Vagnoni, 2020. "Sustainable Business Models in Hybrids: A Conceptual Framework for Community Pharmacies’ Business Owners," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(19), pages 1-18, October.
    19. Rodrigo Lozano, 2018. "Sustainable business models: Providing a more holistic perspective," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(8), pages 1159-1166, December.
    20. Fabien Martinez, 2019. "On the Role of Faith in Sustainability Management: A Conceptual Model and Research Agenda," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 787-807, March.
    21. Kubiak Katarzyna & Wziątek-Kubiak Anna, 2019. "Business models innovation based on crowds: a comparative study," International Journal of Management and Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of World Economy, vol. 55(2), pages 127-147, June.
    22. Ignasi Martí, 2018. "Transformational Business Models, Grand Challenges, and Social Impact," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 152(4), pages 965-976, November.
    23. Fabien Martinez, 2019. "On the Role of Faith in Sustainability Management: A Conceptual Model and Research Agenda," Post-Print hal-02887640, HAL.
    24. Geraldine Brennan & Mike Tennant, 2018. "Sustainable value and trade‐offs: Exploring situational logics and power relations in a UK brewery's malt supply network business model," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 621-630, July.

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    Multiple case studies; Transformation processes; Business models for sustainability;
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