Business Model Innovation in Established SMEs: A Configurational Approach


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of a nation’s wealth creation, employment generation and economic development. To help SMEs stay competitive in a fast-changing environment, researchers have recently emphasized the relevance of business model innovation (BMI). However, BMI and its performance are not linear but rather a complex phenomenon that depends on contingency factors. Based on configurational theory, this study extends the BMI research to SMEs, exploring the management approaches and BMI capabilities that foster BMI in established SMEs. To achieve this objective, this study of a purposive sample of 78 Spanish SMEs adopts the fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) method. Results suggest three substantive conclusions. First, long-term managerial orientation is a key factor for the development of BMI in SMEs. Second, five BMI capabilities (sensing customer needs, sensing technological options, conceptualizing and experimenting, collaborating and BMI strategy) support, in combination with the management approach, the development of BMI in established SMEs. Third, open innovation (open flows of knowledge regarding market needs and the potential of technologies, as well as collaboration with customers) are concrete preconditions of business model innovation. Therefore, managers in SMEs need both to actively consider their management approach towards BMI, and to develop some key dynamic capabilities in their organizations to implement BMI, an approach also valid for post-Covid-19 management.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Advanced Services Group
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Business model innovation,Collaboration,Configurational approach,Dynamic capabilities,FsQCA,Managerial orientation,Open innovation,Post-Covid-19 management,Development,Sociology and Political Science,Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
Publication ISSN: 2199-8531
Last Modified: 14 May 2024 07:16
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2020 10:33
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Related URLs: https://www.mdp ... 199-8531/6/3/76 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-09-04
Accepted Date: 2020-08-08
Authors: Ibarra, Dorleta
Bigdeli, Ali Ziaee (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8128-0918)
Igartua, Juan Ignacio
Ganzarain, Jaione



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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