Circular moonshot: understanding field logic shifts and the influence of business models for sustainability on field change

L.E.D. Divito, Erin Leitheiser, Charlotte Piller

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We aim to understand the interaction between shifting organizational field logics and field actors’ responses to reconcile logic plurality and maintain legitimacy through business model innovation. Drawing on a multimethod, longitudinal field study in the fashion industry, we traced how de novo and incumbent firms integrate circular logics in business models (for sustainability) and uncover
how productive tensions in field logics lead to experimental spaces for business model innovation. Our findings showed a shift in the discourse on circular logic that diverted attention and resources from materials innovation (e.g. recycling) to business model innovation (e.g. circular business models). By juxtaposing the degree of field logic tension and the degree of business model innovation, we derive four types of business model hybridization responses that actors engaged in to maintain legitimacy – constrained, limited, integrated, and expanded. Our study generates new insights on business models for sustainability as vehicles for organizational field change. We make novel contributions to the literatures on organizational fields, business models for sustainability and business model innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable business model challenges: Economic recovery and digital transformation
Subtitle of host publicationconference proceedings
EditorsL. Michelini, A. Minà, P. Alaimo Di Loro
PublisherLUMSA University
ISBN (Print)9791221011883
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventNew Business Models Conference Rome 2022: ustainable Business Model Challenges: Economic Recovery and Digital Transformation - hybrid, Rome, Italy
Duration: 23 Jun 202224 Jun 2022


ConferenceNew Business Models Conference Rome 2022
Abbreviated titleNBM
Internet address


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