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Real estate business model innovation and the impact of ego network structure

Åsa Yderfält (Department of Economics and Law, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden)
Tommy Roxenhall (Department of Social Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 19 June 2017




This paper aims to analyze how a real estate business model innovation developed in a real estate network, with a special focus on the relationship between ego network structure and the innovative development of the business model.


The paper is a single case study of a Swedish real estate network of 38 actors. The data were collected at the individual actor level using multiple sources: 12 semi-structured in-depth interviews, 94 min of meetings and 28 written contracts. The empirical findings resulted in four propositions.


This study demonstrates that it was primarily the building user who was behind the innovative development of the real estate business model innovation, whereas the real estate company acted as a network hub and network resource coordinator. The ego network structures significantly affected the outcome.

Practical implications

Real estate companies should act as hubs, coordinating all the network actor resources the building user needs in the value-creation process. To be effective hubs, the representatives of real estate companies must create extensive personal and open ego networks to acquire central network positions.


Few studies examine business model innovation, particularly in the real estate context. Though large real estate businesses usually operate in the networks of various actors, analyses based on the network perspective are also lacking. This case study builds a valuable understanding of how network processes in real estate networks can be used as tools to foster real estate business model innovation, which in turn can lead to more competitive real estate companies and building users.



The authors thank J. Gust. Richert foundation for financial support. They also thank their colleagues at the Centre of Research on Economic Relations at Mid Sweden University and the anonymous reviewers for comments on this manuscript.


Yderfält, Å. and Roxenhall, T. (2017), "Real estate business model innovation and the impact of ego network structure", Management Research Review, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 648-670.



Emerald Publishing LimitedBingley, United Kingdom

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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