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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Yuliya Snihur

This paper aims to examine Borders response to business model innovation (BMI) by Amazon in the bookselling industry. The case illuminates potential causes for protracted…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine Borders response to business model innovation (BMI) by Amazon in the bookselling industry. The case illuminates potential causes for protracted periods of organizational unlearning, explaining why organizational unlearning, although beneficial in many documented cases, can also be insufficient to prevent failure.

Design/methodology/approach

Archival data are used to study Borders’s historical evolution from 1995 to its 2011 bankruptcy. Theoretical inferences are drawn from this case to shed light on the process of organizational unlearning.

Findings

Borders failed because its top managers were unable to adjust its traditionalist superstore identity to respond in an adequate manner to the changes in their environment. Instead, the company went through protracted phases of weathering the storm, denial and unlearning, resulting in bankruptcy. This extreme case of failure explains why sometimes, organizational unlearning might be insufficient, resulting in organizational demise rather than renewal.

Research limitations/implications

A longitudinal study of an extreme case allows the author to build links between the research on organizational unlearning and the scholarship on organizational identity.

Practical implications

Organizations may survive longer if their top managers engage in the process of organizational identity change in response to BMI in their industry. The article proposes a few actions that organizations might usefully take to react to BMI before it is too late.

Social implications

Better understanding of failure may enable preventive behavior.

Originality/value

This article explains how organizational identity prevents learning the right things and augments the dangers organizations face during unlearning.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Ksenia Podoynitsyna, Yuliya Snihur, Llewellyn D. W. Thomas and Denis A. Grégoire

We investigate how Salesforce’s key people used analogies and metaphors during the deployment of their (then) radical business model innovation. Our analysis shows how…

Abstract

We investigate how Salesforce’s key people used analogies and metaphors during the deployment of their (then) radical business model innovation. Our analysis shows how Salesforce’s entrepreneurial team skillfully used a mix of analogies and metaphors to communicate its innovations and differentiate the company from its competitors. We also show how business model innovators can weave together analogies and metaphors to create distinct meta-narratives that elicited strong emotions and helped construct a memorable organizational identity that galvanized stakeholders around the firm’s ecosystem appeal. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for business model and cognition research.

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Book part
Publication date: 27 November 2018

Yuliya Snihur, Llewellyn D. W. Thomas and Robert A. Burgelman

Despite increasing interest in business model innovation (BMI), there is only limited scholarship that examines how business model (BM) innovators present and explain…

Abstract

Despite increasing interest in business model innovation (BMI), there is only limited scholarship that examines how business model (BM) innovators present and explain their innovations to various stakeholders. As BMI often involves the creation of a new ecosystem, understanding how innovators can gain support of future ecosystem members is important. Based on a longitudinal case study of Salesforce, a pioneer in cloud computing, the authors show how the innovator’s skillful framing to different audiences fosters the emergence of an ecosystem around the new BM. The authors suggest that effective framing constitutes an important strategic process that enables BM innovators to shape new ecosystems due to the performative power of words.

Details

Cognition and Innovation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-432-3

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Abstract

Details

Business Models and Cognition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-063-2

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Book part
Publication date: 27 November 2018

Abstract

Details

Cognition and Innovation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-432-3

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 27 November 2018

Abstract

Details

Cognition and Innovation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-432-3

Content available
Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Abstract

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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