The Business Model: Recent Developments and Future Research

40 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2011 Last revised: 21 Dec 2011

See all articles by Christoph Zott

Christoph Zott

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

Raphael ('Raffi") H. Amit

The Wharton School UPENN

Lorenzo Massa

World Economic Forum; Business School Aalborg University; Business Design Lab

Date Written: February 7, 2011


The paper provides a broad and multifaceted review of the received literature on business models in which we examine the business model concept through multiple subject-matter lenses. The review reveals that scholars do not agree on what a business model is, and that the literature is developing largely in silos, according to the phenomena of interest to the respective researchers. However, we also found emerging common themes among scholars of business models. Specifically, 1) the business model is emerging as a new unit of analysis; 2) business models emphasize a system-level, holistic approach towards explaining how firms “do business”; 3) firm activities play an important role in the various conceptualizations of business models that have been proposed; and 4) business models seek to explain how value is created, not just how it is captured. These emerging themes could serve as catalysts towards a more unified study of business models.

Keywords: business model, strategy, technology management, innovation, literature review

JEL Classification: M00

Suggested Citation

Zott, Christoph and Amit, Raphael H. and Massa, Lorenzo and Massa, Lorenzo, The Business Model: Recent Developments and Future Research (February 7, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Christoph Zott (Contact Author)

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034

Raphael H. Amit

The Wharton School UPENN ( email )

The Wharton School
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States
215 898 7731 (Phone)

Lorenzo Massa

World Economic Forum

CH - 1223 Cologny/Geneva

Business School Aalborg University

Fredrik Bajers Vej 7E
Aalborg, DK-9220

HOME PAGE: http://

Business Design Lab

Fibigerstraede 11
Aalborg East, 9220


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