Journal of Business Economics

, Volume 86, Issue 6, pp 579–609 | Cite as

How should successful business models be configured? Results from an empirical study in business-to-business markets and implications for the change of business models

  • Thomas WeraniEmail author
  • Bernhard Freiseisen
  • Petra Martinek-Kuchinka
  • Alexander Schauberger
Original Paper


At the present moment there are no results that have been established on a wider empirical basis on how successful business models should be configured. On the conceptual level, the authors further develop the Business Model Canvas of Osterwalder and Pigneur (Business Model Generation: Ein Handbuch für Visionäre, Spielveränderer und Herausforderer. Campus, Frankfurt am Main, 2011) against the backdrop of a well-founded and practice-oriented understanding of the business model concept. On the empirical level, which is based on the revised Business Model Canvas, the paper examines the relationship between business model configurations and corporate success, using companies in business-to-business markets as examples. The identification of successful business models rests upon the Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), which can model complex causalities. The results show that there are 14 business model configurations that represent sufficient conditions for the success of a company in terms of sales profitability. Six of these configurations can be interpreted as key paths to corporate success and reflect the value disciplines of Treacy and Wiersema (Harv Bus Rev 71(1):84–93, 1993). Consequences regarding the change of business models can be derived from the empirical results.


Business model Business model configuration Business model innovation Business model transformation Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) 

JEL Classification

M10 M21 O31 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Werani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bernhard Freiseisen
    • 1
  • Petra Martinek-Kuchinka
    • 2
  • Alexander Schauberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Handel, Absatz und Marketing, Abteilung Business-to-Business-MarketingJohannes Kepler Universität LinzLinzAustria
  2. 2.Kuchinka & Partner GmbHLinzAustria

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