The Evolution of Network-based Business Models Illustrated Through the Case Study of an Entrepreneurship Project

Morten Lund, Christian Nielsen


Network-based business models, stakeholders, strategic partners, longitudinal case study


Purpose: Existing frameworks for understanding and analyzing the value configuration and structuring of partner­ships in relation such network-based business models are found to be inferior. The purpose of this paper is there­fore to broaden our understanding of how business models may change over time and how the role of strategic partners may differ over time too.

Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal case study spanning over years and mobilising multiple qualitative methods such as interviews, observation and participative observation forms the basis of the data collection.

Findings: This paper illustrates how a network-based business model arises and evolves and how the forces of a network structure impact the development of its partner relationships. The contribution of this article is to under­standing how partners positioned around a business model can be organized into a network-based business model that generates additional value for the core business model and for both the partners and the customers.

Research limitations/implications: The results should be taken with caution as they are based on the case study of a single network-based business model.

Practical implications: Managers can gain insight into barriers and enablers relating to different types of loose organisations and how to best manage such relationships and interactions

Originality/value: This study adds value to the existing literature by reflecting the dynamics created in the inter­actions between a business model’s strategic partners and how a how a business model can evolve in a series of distinct phases