“Tell me the business model and I tell you who you are”

Type Research Project

Duration since Dec. 1, 2013

  • Institute for Strategy, Technology and Organization IN (Details)


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  • Keijl, Steffen (Former researcher)
  • Lettl, Christopher (Details)

Abstract (English)

A business model is a crucial success factor for every company. Since studies from related research areas suggest that humans have difficulties to tackle complex problems and their reasoning is shaped by context, this study seeks to understand how the nature of human cognition and the organizational contexts impact business model design. Moreover, this paper differentiates between investors and serial entrepreneurs as two groups of fundamentally different business model designers. In order to answer the research question, 156 think alouds among investors (N=56) and, serial entrepreneurs (N=50) (and 50 managers as a control group) have been conducted and quantitatively analyzed. Investors and serial entrepreneurs hardy differ statistically significant in terms of business model foci, emphasis on quality criteria and example-based heuristics. However, some differences can be observed in the data. AdditionallyMoreover, the results show how expertise transforms the design within each role. These insights help scholars to better understand how business models actually evolve and also reveal differences and synergies among different professional business model designers.