[ 973SIMDBMDS20 ] SE Business Models and the Impact of Digitalization and Sustainability

Workload Education level Study areas Responsible person Hours per week Coordinating university
4 ECTS M1 - Master's programme 1. year Business Administration Waldemar Kremser 2 hpw Johannes Kepler University Linz
Detailed information
Pre-requisites KS Creating Strategic Advantages
Original study plan Master's programme Management 2023W
  • Introduction to fundamental knowledge about business models, and business model innovation, including academic definitions, business model history, and implications for strategic management in the context of digitalization and sustainability.
  • Provide students with practical examples of business model innovation processes and best practices.
  • Enable students to develop their own innovative business model in a given context

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  • LO1: Business Management Qualifications: Practical examples and the development of an innovative business model enable students to apply theoretical knowledge and prepare students to tackle practice-oriented problems. (Subject knowledge)
  • LO2: Digital Transformation and Digital Skills: Students engage with digital transformation in the context of business model and business model innovation by analyzing practical examples and companies, also in a historical context. (Cognitive & Transferable Skills)
  • LO3: Practical Projects with Companies: Best practices of business model innovation in a corporate context are shared and discussed with students. (Practical Skills)
  • LO4: Social and Intercultural Skills: Students engage with business model innovation in a group setting and develop skills to ideate and innovate a business model as a team. If possible, exchange students are added to groups. (Social Skills)
  • LO5: Problem Solving and Reflection Skills: Beyond mini-case-studies which are worked on and discussed in-class, students also reflect their own innovative business models as well those of their peers. (Intellectual Skills)
  • LO6: International Orientation: In the context of the theoretical knowledge provided to students as well as in the practice-oriented group assignment (business model innovation), students engage with global challenges as well as trends which allows them to reflect the presented topics in a global context. (Subject knowledge)
  • LO7: Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (ERS): Specifically, the topic of sustainability in the context of for-profit business models is discussed. Beyond that, the SDGs are a foundation for the development of innovative and sustainability-oriented business models. (Cognitive & Transferable Skills)
  • LO8: Identify the conceptual and scientific foundation of business models and related topics in general and in relation to sustainability and digitalization. [subject knowledge]
  • LO9: Develop new business models based on conceptual frameworks. [transferable skills]
  • LO10: Identify and explicate the logical relationships between elements of a business model. [cognitive/analytical]
Subject This course aims to provide a conceptual and practical foundation regarding business models, focusing on the impact of digitalization and sustainability on business models. There is a specific focus on the academic development of this research field – including its history – definitions which significantly developed the theory and set the foundation for practical implications. Beyond business models, the topic of business model innovation is an additional element in understanding the overall concept of business models.

In terms of a practical application, students (group assignment) are asked to develop an innovative business model in the context of digitalization and sustainability based on their acquired theoretical knowledge. Constant feedback from peers and the lecturer ensure the adoption and critical thinking of business model innovation based on a practical approach. In this regard, state-of-the-art tools are grounded in theory and applied in the practical context.

The final results of this endeavor is presented in a final presentation at the end of the semester.

Criteria for evaluation A maximum of 140 points can be achieved in the seminar. To pass the seminar, students have to acquire at least 50 percent of the total points in each of the three following assessment categories:

1. Seminar paper (group assignment) – “Business Model Design Report” The written paper is worth a maximum of 60 points, with 30 points necessary for a passing grade.

The assessment is based on the logic underlying the business model and the supporting arguments based on scientific literature. Students are required to outline the innovative business model design and ground their findings in theory. Additionally, groups are required to reflect on the process and their experience during the conceptualization of their business model.

2. Final presentation (group effort) The final presentation is worth a maximum of 20 points, with 10 points necessary for a passing grade.

3. Individual seminar paper Students are required to write an individual seminar paper regarding two questions. Each question needs to be answered academically by not exceeding 6,000 characters (not including spaces). Students are required to include additional scientific sources not represented in the reading package.

Methods This course follows the paradigm of a problem-based pedagogical approach by applying the following principles:

  • Interactive
  • Adaptive, individualized
  • Group discussions
  • Teamwork
  • Feedback

The lecturer uses state-of-the-art technologies and digital didactic tools. The content is presented actively by the lecturer as well as interactive elements are included throughout the sessions. Teamwork is enabled by a group assignment.

Motivation strategy: Students have the possibility to actively engage in business model innovation and tap into their entrepreneurial mindset. Furthermore, the group assignment allows students to discuss and reflect on their findings at the group level. Additionally, feedback in class and by the lecturer is provided to enable further learning progress.

  • 12 hrs conceptional input
  • 1.5 hrs briefing and feedback on groups-assignment
  • 8 hrs business model design workshop
  • 2.5 hrs final presentation
Language English
Study material Timmers, Paul (1998): Business Models for Electronic Markets. In Electronic Markets 8 (2), pp. 3–8. DOI: 10.1080/10196789800000016.

Optional: Osterwalder, Alexander; Pigneur, Yves (2013): Business model generation. A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Ritter, Thomas; Lettl, Christopher (2018): The wider implications of business-model research. In Long Range Planning 51 (1), pp. 1–8. DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2017.07.005

Johnson, Mark W.; Christensen, Clayton M.; Kagermann, Henning (2008): Reinventing Your Business Model. In Harvard Business Review 86 (12), pp. 50–59.

Gassmann, Oliver: St. Galler Business Model Navigator_V.6. Working-Paper.

Wirtz, Bernd W.; Pistoia, Adriano; Ullrich, Sebastian; Göttel, Vincent (2016): Business Models. Origin, Development and Future Research Perspectives. In Long Range Planning 49 (1), pp. 36–54. DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2015.04.001.

Foss, Nicolai J.; Saebi, Tina (2017): Fifteen Years of Research on Business Model Innovation. In JManage 43 (1), pp. 200–227. DOI: 10.1177/0149206316675927

Foss, Nicolai J.; Saebi, Tina (2018): Business models and business model innovation. Between wicked and paradigmatic problems. In Long Range Planning 51 (1), pp. 9–21. DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2017.07.006.

Chesbrough, Henry (2007): Business model innovation. It's not just about technology anymore. In Strategy & Leadership 35 (6), pp. 12–17. DOI: 10.1108/10878570710833714

Chesbrough, Henry (2010): Business Model Innovation. Opportunities and Barriers. In Long Range Planning 43 (2–3), pp. 354–363. DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2009.07.010.

Sosna, Marc; Trevinyo-Rodríguez, Rosa Nelly; Velamuri, S. Ramakrishna (2010): Business Model Innovation through Trial-and-Error Learning. In Long Range Planning 43 (2-3), pp. 383–407. DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2010.02.003

Stahel, Walter R. (2016): The circular economy. In Nature 531 (7595), pp. 435–438. DOI: 10.1038/531435a.

Urbinati, Andrea; Chiaroni, Davide; Chiesa, Vittorio (2017): Towards a new taxonomy of circular economy business models. In Journal of Cleaner Production 168, pp. 487–498. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.09.047.

Other materials can be retrieved from Moodle and/or will be announced in class.

Changing subject? No
Further information For quality assurance and improvement purposes, please participate in all JKU course evaluations and surveys!
Corresponding lecture 973SIMDBMDS19: SE Business Models and the impact of Digitalization and Circular Economy (4 ECTS)
On-site course
Maximum number of participants 25
Assignment procedure Assignment according to priority