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This paper proposes a new, comprehensive framework for identifying and evaluating economic, cultural, and strategic dimensions of business models, then assessing international ldquoportabilityrdquo: how well a given business model is likely to perform in overseas markets. Its goal is to define and explore a potentially useful method whereby entrepreneurs, managers, and investors can evaluate a business model's likely effectiveness outside of market of origin. The paper posits that the strategic and economic logic by which an enterprise profitably acquires and serves customers-its business model-is, like a person, ldquoimprintedrdquo by the distinctive national environment in which it was developed. Therefore, business models, like expatriate businesspeople, achieve greater or lesser degrees of success when transplanted to foreign environments. Specifically, the paper defines a pyramid-shaped, tiered scheme for examining three distinct ldquolayersrdquo of a business model: Firm, Culture, and Economic. The bottom ldquoEconomicrdquo layer comprises a typological ldquoinfrastructurerdquo of sixteen mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive ways firms can make, sell, lease, or broker assets. The middle ldquoCulturerdquo tier identifies explicit and tacit assumptions of the model specific to national origin that may affect the model's international portability. The topmost ldquoFirmrdquo tier represents a model's individual ldquopersonalityrdquo - specific innovations or ldquoplot twistsrdquo designed to overcome competitors and/or meet unserved customer needs.
Date of Conference: 2-6 Aug. 2009