A ‘storytelling science’ approach making the eco-business modeling turn


  • David Michael Boje Aalborg University
  • Kenneth Mølbjerg Jørgensen Aalborg University




Purpose: To develop a transdisciplinary ecological-business model paradigm (eco-business modelling).

Design Methodology Approach: We do that in four steps. First step is an analysis of the ways triple bottom line and circular economy emplotments have colonized and co-opted the United Nations and European Union Agenda 2030 initiatives by privileging business-as-usual scenarios of ‘sustainable development.

Findings: The challenge is instead to create comprehensive ecological business models that foster worst-case and best case scenario comparisons with status quo business-as-usual.

Originality Value: We propose that business modeling is about storytelling, making ‘bets on the future’ scenarios and propose a ‘five worlds of storytelling model’ to business modeling.

Research Implications: ‘New Business models’ (NBMs) research is getting beyond silo building to develop interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary theory, research, and praxis that is ecologically accountable. The contribution is to propose a ‘self-correcting’ storytelling method of iterative, ‘crossover storytelling conversations’ as a way of developing collaborative ‘interdisciplinary research projects’ across specialized business model disciplines. We contend that self-correcting storytelling conversations fit scientific methods of inquiry to allow business modelers comparison of alternative future scenarios for more effective risk management.

Practical Implications: We call for crossover conversations that challenge unintended consequences of the triple bottom line and circular economy business models.

Social Implications: With ozone depletion, climate change, natural resource depletion, loss of biodiversity and habitat — there are pressures to develop ecologically sensitive business models.

Classification: Conceptual Paper

Key words: eco-business models, storytelling, triple bottom line, circular economy, scenario-analysis, transdisciplinary conversations

Author Biography

David Michael Boje, Aalborg University

David M. Boje

Professor Aalborg University Business Department

Director European School Governing EUSG Storytelling & Sustainability Lab

Emeritus Regents Professor New Mexico State University

Member, Center for Narratological Studies, SDU Kolding; & Scandinavian Storytelling Circle

Board Member of Communication and Language at Work Journal, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, etc.

cell 575-936-9578

Email davidboje@gmail.com