What are Business Models? Developing a Theory of Performative Representations
Imperial College London
University of Warwick - Industrial Relations & Organisational Behaviour (IROB) Subject Group
February 18, 2010
Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 29, pp. 269-279, 2010
Despite a rich extant literature, it is unclear what business models are. We assess three dominant conceptions of business models in the academic literature: as transactional structures, value extracting devices, and mechanisms for structuring the organization. To overcome the shortcomings of these approaches, we draw on theories of performativity, social typecasting, and managerial cognition. We propose an alternative conception of business models as performative representations that work in three ways: as narratives that convince, typifications that legitimate, and recipes that guide social action. Rather than actual features of firms, business models are representations that allow managers to articulate and instantiate the value of new technologies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Business modelsAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 28, 2010 ; Last revised: May 1, 2010
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