The Micro-Foundations of Business Model Innovation as a Dynamic Capability.

  • Marc Sniukas

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


This study adopts a dynamic capabilities perspective to explore the activities and processes through which business model innovation arises in established organisations.New and innovative business models are fundamental to the commercialisation of latest technologies, performance, competitive advantage, as well as the creation of value for customers, the focal company and its ecosystem. Yet, our current understanding of how established companies design and implement new business models is limited by a lack of empirical research.The dynamic capabilities perspective offers a promising route to investigate the managerial and organisational activities and practices through which business model innovation is enacted.Based on a review of the business model, business model innovation and dynamic capabilities literatures, business model innovation is framed as a dynamic capability and research questions are developed.These questions are investigated using grounded theory methodology, collecting and analysing data from five case studies from the manufacturing, financial services, media, consulting, and healthcare industries.Findings from an initial sample suggest a business model innovation process consisting of an inception, evolution and diffusion phase, encumbered by cognitive, emotional and behavioural challenges. Linking the findings to the dynamic capabilities perspective, three micro-foundations, namely, process orchestration, learning, and deployment mechanisms are identified.Findings from a subsequent theoretical sample not only unravel the underlying managerial and organisational activities of these micro-foundations, but also reveal further details on the challenges faced, as well as the key role of senior management for orchestrating and enacting this process and its underlying activities.Considered collectively the findings offer a novel understanding of how business model innovations come about in established organisations, a practice labelled 'crafting business models in statu nascendi'.The dissertation closes with a discussion and synthesis of the findings, the theoretical contribution and managerial implications, as well as limitations of the present study and areas for future research.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKathy Keeling (Supervisor) & Helen Perks (Supervisor)


  • business model innovation
  • dynamic capabilities
  • business models

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