Academic dissertation of Irina Atkova (International Business Management) is presented for public defence at the University of Oulu, Oulu Business School on Wednesday May 30, 2018 at 12.00 (noon) in Arina Auditorium (TA105), in Linnanmaa Campus.
Topic: From opportunity to business model - an entrepreneurial action perspective
"The purpose of the present study is to theoretically and empirically examine how entrepreneurs create business models to capture opportunities. More specifically, this study focuses on the business model antecedents, in other words, entrepreneurial actions between the moment of opportunity identification and the inception of the functioning business model. By reviewing the extant literature on opportunity and business models, this study develops and argues for an action approach to understanding the business model creation process.
Focusing on theory development, this research follows a cyclical process of research-oriented action research, utilizing the diary method. In total, one hundred fifty five diaries were collected and analyzed for the purposes of this research. Four groups of respondents were included: the participants of a start-up accelerator program in Oulu, Finland; the participants of a project carried out at the University of Oulu, Finland; the participants of a venture creation training organized by the Business Model Design Center, Ålborg, Denmark; and two novice entrepreneurial teams based in Helsinki, Finland.
This study develops a conceptual model that illustrates how entrepreneurs create business models to capture opportunities. The model suggests that the process of business model creation is a continuous iteration of conceptualizing and contextualizing. Conceptualizing is associated with choices and decisions made under uncertainty, whereas contextualizing is about acting upon these choices and decisions, thereby testing their feasibility and acceptability against perceived reality. Conceptualizing triggers action as entrepreneurs try to actualize the choices and decisions they have made. Conceptualizing and contextualizing mutually support and reinforce each other by means of feedback loops: Changes in opportunity conceptualizations and/or business model conceptualizations necessitate modifications in their contextualization and vice versa.
The major contribution of this study lies in addressing what has previously been a mostly neglected area of research and explaining how entrepreneurs create business models to capture opportunities from the action perspective. From the methodological perspective, this study employs a novel combination of action research and the diary method, which allows investigating entrepreneurial actions in their natural setting."
Last updated: 23.5.2018