Competing With the Use of Business Model innovation - an Exploratory Case Study of the Journey of Born Global Firms

Marlene Johansson, Jan Tony Abrahamsson


Internationalization, born global firms, business model innovation, dynamic capabilities


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to investigate how business models are used by born global firms to act upon new business opportunities and how they manage business model innovation over time to prosper and grow.

Design/Methodology: The study is based on three exploratory case studies of born global firms in mobile communication, financial services and digital music distribution.

Findings: Three interrelated capabilities to manage business model innovation are articulated in the context of born global firms; sensing capabilities, entrepreneurial capabilities and relational capabilities and four propositions are formulated. We find that business model innovations are used as a tool by maturing born global firms to navigate the value chains and achieve international growth. We further propose that born global need the capabilities to balance different business model designs simultaneously and to manage its business model innovation in a timely manner.

Originality: This article contributes to both the business model literature and research of international entrepreneurship. By putting business model research into the dynamic context of rapidly internationalizing born global firms, we contribute to the field of business model research with findings of how business models are used in the internationalization processes. Certain capabilities are needed to manage business model innovation for born global firms to dynamically use business models as a tool in the international growth overtime.