Fostering Cross-Disciplinarity in Business Model Research

Florian Lüdeke-Freund, Romana Rauter, Christian Nielsen, Marco Montemari, Nikolay Dentchev, Niels Faber


Cross-disciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, business model research


Purpose: We illustrate how cross-disciplinarity in business model research (multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity) can help scholars overcome silo-building and span disciplinary boundaries. The seven articles contained in the special issue ‘Fostering Cross-Disciplinarity in Business Model Research’ are summarised, and the authors’ perspectives on the phenomena studied as well as the theories and methods adopted are portrayed. Methodology: We provide literature-based definitions of cross-disciplinary research modes and discuss their potential for business model research informed by insights from the seven special issue articles. Findings: There is much variety regarding the theories applied in business model research. These include design, imprinting, information asymmetry, paradox theories and many more. This variety illustrates that traditional domains, such as organisation, management and entrepreneurship studies, can be extended in creative ways, and hence can be equipped to deal with emerging and complex issues such as sustainability, circular economy, data management and base-of-thepyramid entrepreneurship. Interdisciplinarity seems to be well developed regarding the use of theories, but more must follow in terms of research methods and collaboration formats. Research Implications and Limitations: The common understanding of the potential and importance of cross-disciplinarity can be considered the major implication of this special issue. Beyond this, further critical reflection is required. Important questions remain open, primarily regarding research methods and collaboration formats. This editorial article reflects the perspectives of both the guest editors and the authors in this special issue. The presented understandings of cross-disciplinary business model research and implications for its future are of a preliminary nature. Originality and Value: Business model research is growing rapidly and scholars from various fields contribute to expanding our knowledge. An explicit focus on the potential of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches is missing so far