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Exploring the dynamism of complementarities in executives’ business modelling knowledge structures: Insights from Australian strategic leaders

Arash Najmaei (Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney, Australia)
Jo Rhodes (Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney, Australia)
Peter Lok (University of Sydney Business School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore and explain how market and technological knowledge gained by executives interact in a complementary fashion to form the knowledge structure of their business model which in turn enable them to make sense of underlying complexities surrounding management of strategic courses of action.


Unitizing, categorizing, and classifying (UCC) in conjunction with pattern-matching (power and proof quotes) as qualitative methods were used to analyse a series of semi-structured interviews with eight executives from five small manufacturing firms in Australia.


It was found that executives’ business modelling knowledge structure defined as the knowledge base that underpins their business models is developed from four interactions that exist between their market and technological knowledge. Particularly, executives can learn about technological aspects of their business model from market knowledge they acquire and also learn about marketing issues of their business model from technological knowledge they acquire. This interactive nature offers novel insights into versatility and fungibility of executives’ knowledge as a strategic resource that defines how business models evolve and shows how executives use knowledge as a non-rivalrous resource in different ways for developing different business models.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited in scope to: first, the context of executive of Australian small manufacturing firms and second, limited sources of data.

Practical implications

This study offers important implications for business modelling and strategic formulation of practicing managers. It particularly contributes to a fuller understanding of how executives’ learning contributes to the cognitive formation of business models. It also helps executives gain new insights into the importance of various types of knowledge and the complementary nature of their interactions in the development of novel mental models as a key managerial competency in today’s dynamic markets.


The conceptual framework developed and findings reported in this study have not been previously studied and offer novel insights into the literature on knowledge-based management, competitiveness, and business modelling.



Najmaei, A., Rhodes, J. and Lok, P. (2014), "Exploring the dynamism of complementarities in executives’ business modelling knowledge structures: Insights from Australian strategic leaders", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 398-421.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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