Gaining competitive advantage through the right business model: analysis based on case studies
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to report on an inductive research that analyzes the unique decisions of three firms that shape their business model and, consequently, provide a competitive advantage. Design/methodology/approach Given the paucity of prior research on the effect that a firm’s business model has on its competitive advantage, addressing the research question warrants an in-depth qualitative study. The study requires explicitly capturing decisions from a firm’s chosen business model and how these decisions are linked to its competitive advantage. The authors take on an inductive research approach to study three longitudinal case studies of organizations that have either successfully implemented their adopted business model or are implementing unique business models. Findings First, the authors identify nine different theoretically grounded propositions based on decisions taken by the firms the authors studied, which shape their business model and give them a competitive advantage. Second, the authors look at these decisions in an integrated manner and categorize these into structural decisions and strategic decisions. Third, the authors extend an existing line of thought that predominantly views the business model as complementary to a firm’s product or service innovation. The authors emphasize on the criticality of the business model as a higher level construct formed from multiple structural and strategic decisions that, eventually, become a source of competitive advantage. Originality/value The findings help to identify a possible theoretical explanation of newer forms of organization, evolving from product, process or service innovation, combined with their unique business model. They help in guiding practitioners to identify sources of competitive advantage through the innovative business models.
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