What makes firms innovate their business models? Why do they engage in innovating how they create, deliver, and capture value? And how does such innovation translate into innovation performance? Despite the importance of business model innovation for achieving competitive advantage, existing evidence seems to be confined to firm-level antecedents and pays little attention to the impact of industry structure. This study investigates how different stages of an industry’s life cycle and levels of industry competition affect firms’ business model innovation, and how such innovation translates into innovation performance. Based on a cross-industry sample of 1,242 Austrian firms, we introduce a unique measure for the degree of innovation in a firm’s business model. The results indicate that the degree of business model innovation is highest toward the beginning of an industry life cycle, that is, in the emergent stage. Competitive industry pressures turn out to be negatively related to the degree of business model innovation. Moreover, we find that the degree of a firm’s business model innovation, conditional on it having introduced a new product or process recently, positively influences innovation performance. Our findings contribute to the ongoing dialog on the role of industry structure in business model innovation, and provide implications for the management of business model innovation.
Advances in Strategic Management, 2015, p. 347-386