Startups versus incumbents in ‘green’ industry transformations: A comparative study of business model archetypes in the electrical power sector

Maximilian Palmié, Jonas Boehm, Jonas Friedrich, Vinit Parida*, Joakim Wincent, Jonas Kahlert, Oliver Gassman, David Sjödin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Scholars have recently argued that startups and incumbents play differential roles in the disruptive transformations of industries toward sustainability and that the transformations are only likely to succeed if both startups and incumbents contribute. To understand their respective contributions and, thus, to understand how industries make the transition toward sustainability, comparative studies of incumbents versus startups during this transformation have been identified as a central pursuit, but yet they are mostly lacking. Since business models have become a principal way of characterizing firms, the present study takes a business model perspective and derives business model archetypes in the electrical power sector from an analysis of 280 startups and incumbents in three different countries. The selected countries (USA, UK, and India) represent three different energy profiles and leading instances of disruption in the energy sector. The article, then, undertakes a comparative analysis of startups and incumbents based on the empirically distilled business model archetypes and develops propositions on startups, incumbents, and business models in industry transformations. This analysis produces several important insights. First, incumbents do not seem to engage in less business model experimentation than startups. Second, incumbents have adopted several new business models that are not pursued by startups. Third, startups have espoused some business models that are not pursued by incumbents. Fourth, foreign firms can also affect the ‘green’ transformation of an industry in a focal country. Finally, the identified business model archetypes are likely to be of interest to scholars and practitioners who are seeking an improved understanding of business models in the electrical power industry and the industry's competitive landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalIndustrial Marketing Management
Volume96
Pages (from-to)35-49
Number of pages15
ISSN0019-8501
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29.04.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • business model
  • electricity sector
  • industry transformation
  • sustainability
  • comparative reearch
  • disruption

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Strategic and entrepreneurial praxis

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