The Johns Hopkins University series on Entrepreneurship
Edited by Gideon D. Markman and Phillip H. Phan
Chapter 14: The Business Model: A Growing Domain of Scholarly Inquiry
Raffi Amit and Christoph Zott With our 2008 SMJ paper on ‘The fit between product market strategy and business model: implications for firm performance,’ we pursued two major objectives. First, we were curious whether we could show empirically that the business model construct was ‘different from strategy’— more precisely, from received strategy constructs. Second, we wanted to demonstrate that rigorous top-tier work on business models could be done, and the topic was not a ‘fad.’ This would, in our view, raise the legitimacy of business model research and spur development of the emerging field. We believed then (as we still do) that the business model needs to be more firmly integrated into the mainstream discussion of strategy. It is a concept that is widely used by practitioners, yet academic research is sparse. Fresh ideas, approaches, and data are needed, along with consensus on the theoretical foundations of the construct, in order to advance this research space. Although scholars have noted that business models as a phenomenon are not new (Teece, 2010)—indeed, every firm has a business model—it is also true that practitioners as well as scholars have only relatively recently turned their attention to the topic. Specifically, the Internet revolution, which began in the second half of the 1990s marked by the IPOs of Netscape (August 1995), Amazon (May 1997) and eBay (September 1998), opened practitioners’ and (with the usual delay) also academics’ eyes to the potential importance of the topic. Whereas periods of intense entrepreneurial experimentation...
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