F. (Fatemeh) Masihkhah MSc

Fatemeh Masihkhah
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM PhD Candidate
Field: Strategy & Entrepreneurship
Affiliated since 2017

PhD Track Re-inventing business models: How firms cope with disruption.

Developments like globalization, convergence of technologies and industries, shorter product life cycles, deregulation, demographic changes, and changing customer preferences provide firms with potential avenues for future growth, but may also threaten firms’ existing business models. How do firms change their business model? Which technological, management and organizational competencies are required for transforming existing business-models? What type of leadership style (transactional/ transformational) is appropriate for successful business model transformation and what are the required roles for the different management levels (front-line, middle line and top management)?

A central focus of the literature on business models is to increase our understanding of how they can act as a source of competitive advantage. The business models of companies such as Kodak (e.g., McGrath, 2013), Ryanair (e.g., Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart, 2010) and Virgin (e.g., Giesen et al., 2007) have been scrutinized to explain firm success or failure. Every organization has a business model (Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart, 2010; Teece, 2010) – either explicit or implicit – but in today’s rapidly changing business environments, business model innovation has become even more important (Chesbrough, 2010; Schneider and Spieth, 2013). Business model innovation has become a crucial factor in explaining differences in firm performance (e.g., Giesen et al., 2010; Karimi and Walter, 2016; Saebi, Lien, Foss, 2016).

Although a business model is closely related to strategy and often grounded, at least in part, in strategic management literature (e.g., Teece, 2010; Zott, Amit, Massa, 2011), we consider these to be different concepts, in line with many previous studies (e.g., Klang, Wallnöfer, Hacklin, 2014; Spieth, Schneckenberg, Matzler, 2016). For instance, a business model reflects the outcome of a firm’s strategic choices and how the firm executes its strategy (Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart, 2010); it focuses specifically on the creation and appropriation of customer value (Baden-Fuller and Haefliger, 2013; Zott et al., 2011); and a strategic perspective can be applied to a business model itself (e.g., Lambert and Davidson, 2013; Morris, Schindehutte, Allen, 2005; Teece, 2010). Despite the increase in research on business models (e.g., Zott et al., 2011), several important questions on business model innovation remain largely unanswered. 

The research project seeks to address gaps in the literature by answering the following research question “How do firms cope with disruptive technologies and how does business model innovation contribute to new sources of competitive advantage?”

Business model innovation; disruption; competitive advantage; firm performance; quantitative research
Time frame
2017 -


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