We are delighted to announce that the articles for the Special Issue “The Organizational Dynamics of Business Models for Sustainability: Discursive and Cognitive Pathways for Change” are out and have been published in the Journal of Organization & Environment’s special issue.  The contributions to the special issue provide valuable insights into various sectors and industries, showcasing the diverse applications of Business Models for Sustainability (BMfS), including:

  • Digital platforms for circular economy;
  • The global fashion industry;
  • An electric utility providing e-mobility services;
  • A telecommunications firm providing digital health services;
  • A professional services firm providing built environment related services.

Here are key takeaways from the five special issue articles:

  1. Olesson, Nenonen, and Newth (2023) illustrate how a professional services firm strategically reconfigured its resources and capabilities to incorporate sustainability into its business model. By integrating professional, commercial, and sustainability logic, they successfully transformed their organization towards sustainability. To the article
  2. Blackburn, Ritala, and Keränen (2023) explore the role of digital platforms in enabling circular business models. Their findings highlight the power of discourse in attracting actors and the circular value creation that can involve all three levers (value, resources, transactions). To the article
  3. ⚡️Reuter and Krauspe (2023) examine an electric utility’s journey towards sustainability through an internal corporate venture that offers electric mobility services. Their findings demonstrate how reframing the value proposition and seizing opportunities can drive positive change even in traditionally risk-averse sectors. To the article
  4. ⚕️ Ringvold, Saebi, and Foss (2023) demonstrate how a telecommunications firm providing digital health services in Bangladesh embraced cognitive complexity and diverse backgrounds to identify new opportunities for sustainable value creation. Challenging the organization’s status quo and rethinking traditional practices played a crucial role in their success. To the article
  5. ♻️ DiVito, Leitheiser, and Piller (2023) focus on the global fashion industry, highlighting the reframing of the value proposition for circularity over time. They uncover how the intersection between issue and exchange fields creates institutional complexity and experimental spaces for business model innovation. To the article

In the editorial to the special issue we reflect on the contributions, provide an overview of the advancements made in Business Models for Sustainability research, and propose future directions for the research field. Moreover, we present a comprehensive framework, which is anchored in the special issue articles and in prior research.

The framework sheds light on how organizations can effectively navigate the path towards sustainability. It highlights the three key elements of BMfS, i.e. value, resources, and transactions that enable the legitimization and implementation of Business Models for Sustainability via discursive and cognitive pathways.  To the article

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it has become a core aspect of business strategy, and our understanding of BMfS is crucial for organizations seeking to thrive in the rapidly evolving marketplace. This special issue sheds light on the multifaceted nature of BMfS, offering valuable insights for leaders, researchers, and practitioners passionate about driving positive change in their organizations.