Business model evolution and firm performance of entrepreneurial companies

Zhao, Yang (2016) Business model evolution and firm performance of entrepreneurial companies. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research explores the business model (BM) evolution process of entrepreneurial companies and investigates the relationship between BM evolution and firm performance. Recently, it has been increasingly recognised that the innovative design (and re-design) of BMs is crucial to the performance of entrepreneurial firms, as BM can be associated with superior value creation and competitive advantage. However, there has been limited theoretical and empirical evidence in relation to the micro-mechanisms behind the BM evolution process and the entrepreneurial outcomes of BM evolution. This research seeks to fill this gap by opening up the ‘black box’ of the BM evolution process, exploring the micro-patterns that facilitate the continuous shaping, changing, and renewing of BMs and examining how BM evolutions create and capture value in a dynamic manner. Drawing together the BM and strategic entrepreneurship literature, this research seeks to understand: (1) how and why companies introduce BM innovations and imitations; (2) how BM innovations and imitations interplay as patterns in the BM evolution process; and (3) how BM evolution patterns affect firm performances.

This research adopts a longitudinal multiple case study design that focuses on the emerging phenomenon of BM evolution. Twelve entrepreneurial firms in the Chinese Online Group Buying (OGB) industry were selected for their continuous and intensive developments of BMs and their varying success rates in this highly competitive market. Two rounds of data collection were carried out between 2013 and 2014, which generates 31 interviews with founders/co-founders and in total 5,034 pages of data. Following a three-stage research framework, the data analysis begins by mapping the BM evolution process of the twelve companies and classifying the changes in the BMs into innovations and imitations. The second stage focuses down to the BM level, which addresses the BM evolution as a dynamic process by exploring how BM innovations and imitations unfold and interplay over time. The final stage focuses on the firm level, providing theoretical explanations as to the effects of BM evolution patterns on firm performance.

This research provides new insights into the nature of BM evolution by elaborating on the missing link between BM dynamics and firm performance. The findings identify four patterns of BM evolution that have different effects on a firm’s short- and long-term performance. This research contributes to the BM literature by presenting what the BM evolution process actually looks like. Moreover, it takes a step towards the process theory of the interplay between BM innovations and imitations, which addresses the role of companies’ actions, and more importantly, reactions to the competitors. Insights are also given into how entrepreneurial companies achieve and sustain value creation and capture by successfully combining the BM evolution patterns. Finally, the findings on BM evolution contributes to the strategic entrepreneurship literature by increasing the understanding of how companies compete in a more dynamic and complex environment. It reveals that, the achievement of superior firm performance is more than a simple question of whether to innovate or imitate, but rather an integration of innovation and imitation strategies over time. This study concludes with a discussion of the findings and their implications for theory and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Business model, innovation, imitation, firm performance, entrepreneurial companies.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Morgan-Thomas, Dr. Anna
Date of Award: 2016
Embargo Date: 5 October 2020
Depositing User: Ms Yang Zhao
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7627
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2016 07:42
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2019 09:55

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