Circular moonshots: the influence of business models for sustainability on field change

Lori Divito De Paauw, Erin Leitheiser, Charlotte Piller

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractAcademic


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13141
Number of pages1
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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