The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Lisa Heldt

Lisa Heldt

Doctoral student

Lisa Heldt

Adopting business models for sustainability and digitalization. A process study of microlevel dynamics in an incumbent firm.


  • Lisa Heldt
  • Philip Peck


  • Laura Michelini
  • Anna Minà
  • P Alaimo Di Loro

Summary, in English

Incumbent firms face growing pressure to transform their business towards sustainability. However, business models for sustainability (BMfS) and circularity are grounded in fundamentally different institutional logic which, for incumbents, creates tensions with existing business models, structures and routines. How organizations manage tensions from conflicting logics is explored comprehensively in research on hybrid organizations and sustainable entrepreneurship – however, focusing on ventures already founded with sustainability-oriented/hybrid missions. It is unclear if and how such logic hybridization processes unfold in incumbents and what role digitalization plays. This research aims to explore and explain microfoundations of how involved actors (struggle to) make sense of BMfS in incumbents and how this is underpinned by broader shifts towards hybrid organizational logics. This longitudinal case study takes a process view (Langley, 2007, 1999), following a large manufacturer’s Swedish division where a team works towards implementing a BMfS grounded in circularity and digitalization while facing doubt and inertia. Triangulating interviews, observations and documents, we track internal processes as they unfold in real-time to study how actors experience and rationalize the BMfS and navigate emerging tensions. Preliminary findings suggest that BMfS trigger diverging interpretations from different logics and therefore cause tensions. Overcoming these benefits from external impulses (e.g. customer or management communication that legitimizes new logic element), finding third-party common denominators (e.g. emphasize BMfS’ digitalization element) and continuous exposure. Upon completion, this research will provide a process model of how microlevel dynamics shape BMfS adoption, while opening for future research on hybridity intersecting with sustainable entrepreneurship literature.


  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Publishing year







Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on New Business Models: Sustainable Business Model Challenges: Economic Recovery and Digital Transformation

Document type

Conference paper


LUMSA University


  • Business Administration
  • Environmental Sciences


  • Business model
  • Sustainability
  • Institutional logics
  • Hybridity
  • Process study

Conference name

7th International Conference on New Business Models

Conference date

2022-06-23 - 2022-06-24

Conference place

Rome, Italy




  • Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions based on Circular Economy Thinking - Phase 2


  • ISBN: 979-12-210-1188-3