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Ritalba Lamendola

DBA Graduate - 2019

Thesis title

How Do Entrepreneurs Choose Their Business Model? An Exploration Of The Micro-Processes Underlying Business Model Modelling

Supervisor(s)

Corine Genet
Business model choice is a challenging and crucial task for entrepreneurs. In fact, the successful exploitation of an entrepreneurial opportunity depends on the entrepreneurs’ ability to choose a business model which translates that opportunity into a viable business. Fast developing and new technologies make the choice of business model even more challenging because they confront entrepreneurs with high levels of technology and market uncertainty and unpredictability. The difficulties of technology-based new ventures of selecting business models which can allow to create and capture value from technologies has triggered the need for understanding how entrepreneurs choose their business model. Even though much research has been done on this regard, still many gaps exist in the understanding of the aspects which influence business model choice. This research study uses qualitative-inductive methodology for analysing four start-ups in Internet of Things technology within their real-life context, in order to propose a closer look at how entrepreneurs choose their business model in new technologies-based start-ups. In this thesis, I built on literature research streams which consider business model choice as the outcome of the business model process, which is defined as the modelling of business model. I also combined studies on cognitive and action dimensions of business model process with studies on time perception in strategy domain and studies on entrepreneurial behaviours in entrepreneurship domain. In so doing, I explored the way in which entrepreneurs’ time perception and entrepreneurial behaviours may influence the business model process and its outcome, the business model choice. In so doing, this research proposes a contribution to business model research stream by showing that during the business model modelling, when entrepreneurs perceive time urgency, they are also inclined to adopt bricolage entrepreneurial behaviour and, concomitantly they choose single-sided business models. On the other side, when the entrepreneurs don’t perceive time urgency, they are also inclined to adopt effectuation entrepreneurial behaviour and they generally select multi-sided business models. This research also contributes to the debate on the relationship between technology and business model. In fact, the choice of the research setting in Internet of Things which merges technologies with two different time scales, digital and physical, allows revealing how the type of technology impacts on entrepreneurs’ time perception and on entrepreneurial behaviour which in turn influence entrepreneurs’ choices about business model. This study represents a valid managerial contribution because it helps entrepreneurs, who face the challenge of selecting a business model within new technologies, making them aware of the way that their sometimes unconscious mental representation of time or their sometimes unconscious adoptions of entrepreneurial behaviours influence their choice of business model.