Statiske Forudsætninger og Aktiv Erfaring: Implikationer af mødet mellem business models og ledelse

Adam Eithz Kromann

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master’s thesis examines the relation between theoretical business models and management practice. In the thesis I especially explore the implications of the use of business models in organizations. I focus on the complications that arise when varying business models are claimed to be constitutive of the manager’s perception of and practical relation to the world, i.e. the complications that arise when certain theoretical prescriptions are sought translated into organizational practice. The thesis starts from an analysis of Alexander Osterwalder’s and Yves Pigneur’s The Business Model Canvas and its simplistic representation of the organization as governed by a so-called profit logic. By drawing on insights from Reinhart Koselleck’s conceptual history, I examine how business models can be seen as concepts, which do not only have a technical functionality, but also serve an active role in constructing specific understandings and conducts within the organizations. Using Koselleck’s notions of experience and expectation I show that the business model concept is static due to its strict technical focus, which contrasts the managers’ dynamic and continuously expanding experience. Furthermore, I examine how the “business model concept” can be understood as a neologism that arose and responded to a problem occurring in the 1990’s of how to assess the profitability of small start-up companies, but which has later been generalized to the point where the concept of a business model could be applied to business in general. The thesis then proceeds to confront the business model concept with Henry Mintzberg’s critique of technical management and Chester Barnard’s perception of management as a function related to responsibility and morals. Through these perspectives I outline a number of implications which all relate to the often hasty and precipitate use of business models. I emphasize that managers hope to create legitimate ways of organizing by utilizing business models, but this seems to overestimate the scope of application for business models. In the conclusion I argue for that business models are useful within circumscribed limits but call for a wise and conscientious use – by managers willing to assume the responsibility of actually being leaders.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages78