Developing a Unified Framework of the Business Model Concept

Recent rapid advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have highlighted the rising importance of the Business Model (BM) concept in the field of Information Systems (IS). Despite agreement on its importance to an organization’s success, the concept is still fuzzy and vague, and there is little consensus regarding its compositional facets. Identifying the fundamental concepts, modeling principles, practical functions, and reach of the BM relevant to IS and other business concepts is by no means complete. This paper, following a comprehensive review of the literature, principally employs the content analysis method and utilizes a deductive reasoning approach to provide a hierarchical taxonomy of the BM concepts from which to develop a more comprehensive framework. This framework comprises four fundamental aspects. First, it identifies four primary BM dimensions along with their constituent elements forming a complete ontological structure of the concept. Second, it cohesively organizes the BM modeling principles, that is, guidelines and features. Third, it explains the reach of the concept showing its interactions and intersections with strategy, business processes, and IS so as to place the BM within the world of digital business. Finally, the framework explores three major functions of BMs within digital organizations to shed light on the practical significance of the concept. Hence, this paper links the BM facets in a novel manner offering an intact definition. In doing so, this paper provides a unified conceptual framework for the BM concept that we argue is comprehensive and appropriate to the complex nature of businesses today. This leads to fruitful implications for theory and practice and also enables us to suggest a research agenda using our conceptual framework.
AL-DEBEI, M.M. et AVISON, D. (2010). Developing a Unified Framework of the Business Model Concept. European Journal of Information Systems, (19), pp. 359–376.