Toward a Knowledge-Based View of a Business Model

A Multi-Level Framework and Dynamic Perspective

Authored by: Guannan Qu , Luyao Wang , Jin Chen

The Routledge Companion to Knowledge Management

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367631055
eBook ISBN: 9781003112150
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we use the knowledge-based view (KBV) to investigate the concept of a business model (BM) and build a multi-level framework to explore its architecture and dynamics. In this framework, a BM can be viewed as a structured knowledge cluster contains both explicit and implicit parts. The architecture of a BM consists of three levels: components, sub-cluster business themes, and the overall BM. Based on this, the design and imitation of BMs is conceptualized as a dynamic process of (implicit and explicit) knowledge creation and cross-boundary diffusion. The proposed framework could provide a deeper understanding of the ontology and architecture of BMs, assist in the design of new business-related knowledge components and valuable linkages regarding its hierarchy. In addition, as a new analysis tool, this framework may not only help “ new entrants ” of a focal industry (or a “ niche” ) to successfully and effectively learn a well-established BM “archetype” but also help “ incumbents ” to design barriers to prevent their successful BM from being imitated.

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