The Evolution of Network-based Business Models Illustrated Through the Case Study of an Entrepreneurship Project


  • Morten Lund Aalborg University
  • Christian Nielsen Aalborg University



Network-based business models, stakeholders, strategic partners, longitudinal case study


Purpose: Existing frameworks for understanding and analyzing the value configuration and structuring of partnerships in relation such network-based business models are found to be inferior. The purpose of this paper is therefore to broaden our understanding of how business models may change over time and how the role of strategic partners may differ over time too. 

Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal case study spanning over years and mobilising multiple qualitative methods such as interviews, observation and participative observation forms the basis of the data collection. 

Findings: This paper illustrates how a network-based business model arises and evolves and how the forces of a network structure impact the development of its partner relationships. The contribution of this article is to understanding how partners positioned around a business model can be organized into a network-based business model that generates additional value for the core business model and for both the partners and the customers. 

Research limitations/implications: The results should be taken with caution as they are based on the case study of a single network-based business model. 

Practical implications: Managers can gain insight into barriers and enablers relating to different types of loose organisations and how to best manage such relationships and interactions 

Originality/value: This study adds value to the existing literature by reflecting the dynamics created in the interactions between a business model’s strategic partners and how a how a business model can evolve in a series of distinct phases