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Industry 4.0 disruptive business models

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2021
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Objectives:To develop a taxonomy to characterize Industry 4.0 Business Models and scenarios of disruptive business models in a series of sectors (e.g. energy, mobility, creative business) that embrace digitalization.

Expected Results: Typology of business models archetypes based on Industry 4.0; disruptive scenarios for new entrants and incumbents’ business models, embracing digitalization.

Industry 4.0 (I4.0) also known as the fourth industrial revolution has emerged for describing the digitalization of manufacturing industries. In practice, the transition to I4.0 is crucial for manufacturing and service firms to sustain competitive advantage and seize new opportunities. Most research focuses on the technological aspects of I4.0 in form of product and process innovations. Despite I4.0’s rising attention among both researchers and practitioners, there exists only little research about I4.0 business model innovation (BMI), even though business model (BM) innovators can be more successful than product or process innovators.

The project is based on comparative case studies analysis from different sectors (Yin, 2014). The initial step is to identify the case studies and collect extensive information. Following that on a second step we use Nickerson et al. (2013) methodology to systematically develop a taxonomy for I4.0 BMs. The method allows us to combine theoretical findings of BMs with empirical findings of case studies (Remane et al. 2016). The third step, is based on a cross-case analysis (Yin 2014) in the form of a qualitative cluster analysis, to identify archetypes and related sub-archetypes with similar characteristics of the cases’ BMI. Finally, a systems thinking scenario building process will provide disruptive scenarios for new entrants or evolution of incumbents’ business models.


Doctor Kostas Galanakis

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Kostas Galanakis