Business model transformation influenced by Germany's Energiewende. A comparative case study analysis of business model innovation in start-up and incumbent firms
AuthorHoffmann, Sven Oliver
KeywordBusiness model transformation; Business model innovation; Business model; German energy transition; Disruptive innovation; Incumbent utility firms; Clean-tech start-up firms; Distributed renewable generation
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentSchool of Management
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AbstractThis thesis investigates the performance of business model innovation (BMI) by incumbent power utility and clean-tech start-up firms influenced by the German Energiewende. It emphasises the factors that impact BMI from a managers’ perspective, examines success factors for managers to overcome BMI challenges, and addresses contingencies to perform BMI in a more structured way. The research is driven by the German Energiewende. It has been chosen as Germany is considered one of the world’s leading markets for renewable energies and a transformation of the power sector is currently underway. Therefore, established power utility firms face severe changes, which have the characteristics of a potential disruption to their business model (BM). At the same time, new players are challenging these incumbents with new BMs. The research is underpinned by the extant literature on BMs and BMI. The research approach is based on two case studies; the incumbent power utility and the clean-tech start-up sector. The qualitative study comprises of 24 semi-structured interviews conducted with top tier managers, from 18 firms, responsible for BMI within these firms. Key findings: This study extends our knowledge of BMI in both a start-up and an incumbent environment that is influenced by various contingent events. It portrays barriers to BMI and depicts critical success factors for BMI that point out solutions on how to overcome these barriers. It provides a structured BMI framework for established firms and illustrates future BM archetypes in this sector. It clearly documents the German Energiewende is regarded as a disruptive threat from the perspective of incumbent power utility managers. The theoretical contribution of this thesis is a process framework including all identified drivers and challenges for BMI in both established and start-up firms. Contributions to practice include critical success factors for BMI, recommendations to overcome barriers to BMI and future BM archetypes within the newly evolving Energiewende industry based on sustainable technologies.
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