Fostering Cross-Disciplinarity in Business Model Research


  • Florian Lüdeke-Freund
  • Romana Rauter
  • Christian Nielsen
  • Marco Montemari
  • Nikolay Dentchev
  • Niels Faber



Purpose: We illustrate how cross-disciplinarity in business model research (multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity) can help
scholars overcome silo-building and span disciplinary boundaries. The seven articles contained in the special issue ‘Fostering
Cross-Disciplinarity in Business Model Research’ are summarised, and the authors’ perspectives on the phenomena
studied as well as the theories and methods adopted are portrayed.

Methodology: We provide literature-based definitions of cross-disciplinary research modes and discuss their potential
for business model research informed by insights from the seven special issue articles.

Findings: There is much variety regarding the theories applied in business model research. These include design, imprinting,
information asymmetry, paradox theories and many more. This variety illustrates that traditional domains, such as
organisation, management and entrepreneurship studies, can be extended in creative ways, and hence can be equipped
to deal with emerging and complex issues such as sustainability, circular economy, data management and base-of-thepyramid
entrepreneurship. Interdisciplinarity seems to be well developed regarding the use of theories, but more must
follow in terms of research methods and collaboration formats.

Research Implications and Limitations: The common understanding of the potential and importance of cross-disciplinarity
can be considered the major implication of this special issue. Beyond this, further critical reflection is required.
Important questions remain open, primarily regarding research methods and collaboration formats. This editorial article
reflects the perspectives of both the guest editors and the authors in this special issue. The presented understandings of
cross-disciplinary business model research and implications for its future are of a preliminary nature.

Originality and Value: Business model research is growing rapidly and scholars from various fields contribute to expanding
our knowledge. An explicit focus on the potential of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches is missing so far.