Developing Sustainable Business Models: A Microfoundational Perspective

Kristin Ringvold*, Tina Saebi, Nicolai J. Foss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Sustainable business models (SBMs) integrate economic with social and/or environmental value creation. Many relevant aspects of organizing for sustainable business model innovation (SBMI) have yet to be accounted for to understand how firms can add a new SBM to their already existing portfolio of business models. Specifically, how the development of a new SBM is influenced by managers’ cognitions, capabilities, behaviors, and interactions, and how the SBMI process can be supported by organizational processes and structures is less well understood. Taking a microfoundational approach, we identify the capabilities at the managerial and organizational level that enable established firms to add a new SBM to their business model portfolio. In a longitudinal study, we explore how Telenor, a multinational telecommunications company headquartered in Norway, introduced a new SBM targeted at providing digital health services in Bangladesh. We offer a framework that highlights key microfoundational elements supporting each of the phases in the SBMI process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization & Environment
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)315-348
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: September 22, 2022.


  • Sustainable business model innovation
  • Business model innovation processes
  • Microfoundations
  • Cognition

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