Exploring business model innovation for sustainability: an investigation of two product-service systems

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Journal Article
Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 2019, 30 (5-6), pp. 594 - 612
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© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The conceptual exploration of sustainable business models (SBMs) is new in the literature, and there is still a limited understanding of how these models might look in practice. As theory development should be grounded in reality, more empirical research is needed. This paper aims to contribute to the literature by exploring how a specific type of SBM (product-service systems) may contribute to sustainability. The business models of two companies located in an emerging economy (Brazil) were analysed through business model lenses. The goal was to examine the key characteristics, how the solutions have overcome the barriers associated with business model implementation, enablers, cooperative arrangements, and the link between technology advancement and innovation. Multiple sources were used to gather data, and an inductive approach based on grounded theory was applied for data analysis. The main findings show the role of collaborative approaches and stakeholder interaction in fostering SBM implementation and overcoming the main barriers associated with the implementation. Innovative technologies are also an important driver for achieving environmental improvements. Future research may focus on exploring other SBMs implemented in developing countries, the main sustainability benefits, and the collaborative approaches established.
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