How to Translate Digital Trends in Competitive Advantages: The Changing Business Model of the Daimler AG

Lennart Paul Philipp Rother

Student thesis: Master thesis


The underlying thesis investigates how digital trends are opportunities to change the business model and sources to establish a sustainable competitive advantage. This investigation requires exploring the theoretical relation between business models and strategy. In this regard, the thesis reviews existing business model and strategy literature to determine how these fields can contribute to the understanding of competitive advantages. The literature review unfolds that business models and strategy con contribute mutually to establish a sustainable competitive advantage.
Following this argumentation, the researcher develops a theoretical model, which integrates the business model and the strategy to an encompassing framework for establishing a sustainable competitive advantage. This framework unites the business model for a consistent value creation and strategy for reaching the proposed business target. Interweaving both concepts to a complementary framework ensures that the required strategic fit for a sustainable competitive advantage can be reached.
In order to test the theoretical model, an empirical investigation of the Daimler AG, a German multinational automotive corporation, is conducted. Although the Daimler AG is positioned as quality and technological leader, the company is facing the threats of an industry in advanced maturity.
The Daimler AG introduced new services that take advantage of digital trends, which provides the case study for the underlying thesis. The first step of the empirical investigation concludes that the digital services can lead to a change of Daimler’s classical business model, since these services involve business systems and revenue streams that are different from existing paradigms. In the second step, the application of the theoretical model reveals that Daimler’s digital services can establish a sustainable competitive advantage.
The research contributes to the academic discussion how digital trends can change business models towards an increased service-orientation and how the integration of digital trends in the business model can establish a sustainable competitive advantage. Furthermore, the study provides managerial implications, which may represent new ways for establishing competitive advantages in the mature automotive industry.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages125