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Overcoming hierarchy in business model innovation: an actor-oriented approach

Overcoming hierarchy in business model innovation: an actor-oriented approach

Di Toma, Paolo and Ghinoi, Stefano ORCID: 0000-0002-9857-4736 (2020) Overcoming hierarchy in business model innovation: an actor-oriented approach. European Journal of Innovation Management, 24 (4). pp. 1057-1081. ISSN 1460-1060 (doi:

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Business model innovation is a key element for firms' competitiveness. Its development can be supported by the establishment of an actor-oriented scheme to overcome hierarchical structures. The actor-oriented scheme is characterized by intra-organizational networks of relationships that can be established and dissolved between individuals. However, we lack an empirical perspective about its establishment; therefore, the purpose of this research is to advance our understanding of intra-organizational networks for supporting business model innovation.

Individuals create and manage knowledge aimed to innovate the business model through cognitive search and experiential learning mechanisms. Knowledge is spread within organizations by using intra-organizational advice networks, whose patterns reflect the presence of an actor-oriented scheme. This work applies social network analysis to network data from a multi-unit organization specializing in personal care services. We use a Logistic Regression-Quadratic Assignment Procedure to analyze intra-organizational network data on managers' advice exchange related to the learning modes of cognitive search and experiential learning.

Our research empirically identifies the main elements of an actor-oriented scheme in a business model innovation process. We find that managers are able to self-organize, because they are not influenced by their organizational roles, and that commons for sharing resources and protocols, processes and infrastructures enable advice exchange, thus showing the presence of an actor-oriented scheme in business model innovation process.

Research limitations/implications
This research is based on a cross-sectional database. A longitudinal study would provide a better understanding of the network evolution characterizing the innovation process.

Practical implications
The results of our study support organizational decision-making for business model innovation.

This study provides empirical evidence of how an actor-oriented scheme emerges in a business model innovation process.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: business model innovation, social network analysis, actor-oriented scheme, organizational learning
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC)
Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC) > Centre for Business Network Analysis (CBNA)
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2021 08:00
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 6

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