Business Model Change: Managerial Roles and Tactics in Decision-Making

Xavier Martin (School of Economics and Management, Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands)

Business Models and Modelling

ISBN: 978-1-78560-463-8, eISBN: 978-1-78560-462-1

ISSN: 0742-3322

Publication date: 27 October 2015


We study the decision-making process behind business model change, focusing specifically on the tactics managers employ to gain support for such changes. We first argue for the prominent role of middle management in business model change, and second, we revisit the literature on issue selling and championing as they may apply to business model change decision-making. We subsequently analyze the case of a business model change initiative in the Dutch water authority sector, revealing two specific tactics that middle management employed to obtain top management’s agreement to business model change: leveraging external agreements and continuously informing top management. We discuss how these findings extend and in some ways suggest a rethink of the literature on organizational change. Finally, we describe the specificities of business model change that distinguish it from other types of change. In sum, this paper demonstrates the interest of research at the nexus of business models and organizational change.




We acknowledge patient and insightful guidance of the co-editor, Charles Baden-Fuller. The paper has also benefited from presentations at conferences (co)organized by the editors and from comments by Sarah Kaplan and an anonymous reviewer. We gratefully thank Water Authority Y and the Netherlands Association of Regional Water Authorities for their superb cooperation. We also thank Jon Morgan of Paraphrase for his helpful editing assistance. This research was partially funded via a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Any remaining errors are ours.


van den Oever, K. and Martin, X. (2015), "Business Model Change: Managerial Roles and Tactics in Decision-Making", Business Models and Modelling (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 33), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 387-420.



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